MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. The United States’ refusal to issue a visa to Russian cosmonaut Nikolay Chub is a misunderstanding that the US can still repair, Director General of Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin said on Saturday.
"I hope that we have encountered a misunderstanding, so we will give our American counterparts a chance to fix this misunderstanding. However, it left a bad taste in our mouths," he said aired by the Echo of Moscow radio station.
Rogozin added that "those cold winds that are now blowing from Washington and Brussels" in the direction of Russia might have begun to be projected onto the space field as well.
Earlier in the day, Roscosmos announced that the safety of Russian cosmonaut Nikolay Chub during his mission on the International Space Station (ISS), scheduled for 2023, was called into question after the United States had denied him a visa. The state corporation explained that Chub needs the US entry visa for his first five-day training session on the replica of the US orbital segment. The visa refusal brings up the question of at least changing Chub’s training schedule, Roscosmos added.
Earlier, a source familiar with the situation told TASS that without any explanations, the United States had refused to issue a visa to Nikolay Chub, who was supposed to arrive in the US to undergo training at the NASA Johnson Space Center. The Roscosmos CEO later confirmed this information specifying that he had asked NASA to clarify their position on the matter.
Training of foreign astronauts at Russia’s Yury Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center and of Russian cosmonauts at the Johnson Space Center is a routine practice, giving space crews knowledge of the US and Russian orbital segments of the International Space Station. Such training sessions are held regardless of what kind of spacecraft will be used to deliver cosmonauts and astronauts to the orbit.
Nikolay Chub is a member of the backup crew of ISS Expedition 68, which is to fly to the orbital outpost aboard the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft in September 2022. He is also a member of Expedition 69’s main crew, to be delivered to the ISS by a Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft in the spring of 2023.