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NASA chief hails 'unique' Russia-US cooperation in space

"We are partners in space, and I don't want that to cease," Bill Nelson said
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson
© Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP

WASHINGTON, June 11. /TASS/. The Russian-US cooperation in space is unique and extraordinary and must not cease, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in an interview to Politico after talks with Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin.

"Despite the politics, and some of the rather less than soft statements you hear that sound more political, nevertheless if you talk to the Russian space workers, they want this cooperation to continue with the Americans. So I talked to Rogozin about this. I've said, ‘This is unique, the kind of relationship where we can be at peace cooperating with each other, no matter what our rivalries are on terra firma." We are partners in space, and I don't want that to cease," Nelson said.

He added that Russia and the United States have "extraordinary cooperation" in space.

"We've seen, for example, just recently they've got some kind of module that they are going to launch to the International Space Station, which I think is a pretty good indication that they're not going to abandon it in four years," Nelson continued.

"Our politics have become very strained. But where is the one area that we have been able to cooperate? It's been ever since 1975 when an American spacecraft in the middle of the Cold war rendezvoused and docked with a Russian spacecraft, and the crews lived together for nine days. Ever since we have been cooperating," the NASA chief said.

Earlier, Rogozin told TASS he hoped that NASA formulates its position on cooperation with the Russian state corporation before the summit of Russian and American presidents in Geneva without being "a passive observer." Prior to that, he said Russia could only plan to cooperate with the US in space after the US sanctions against Russian space enterprises were lifted.