NASA Cuts Ties With Russia Except For ISS
The US space agency - NASA - has cut all the ties with its Russian counterpart Roscosmos except for the ongoing activities aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Quoting an internal letter published by US space news website Spaceref, Xinhua reported "this suspension includes NASA travel to Russia and visits by Russian Government representatives to NASA facilities, bilateral meetings, e-mail, and teleconferences or video conferences."
"At the present time, only operational International Space Station activities have been excepted," it said.
Other than Russia the only country currently operating manned spaceflights is China but at present United States and China are not co-operating on any joint operations involving the International Space Station. Further a law passed in 2011 averts NASA from spending funds to cooperate with the Chinese government.
NASA in an accompanying statement confirmed that the step was due to "Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
"Given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, NASA is suspending the majority of its ongoing engagements with the Russian Federation. NASA and Roscosmos will, however, continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station. NASA is laser focused on a plan to return human spaceflight launches to American soil, and end our reliance on Russia to get into space. This has been a top priority of the Obama Administration's for the past five years, and had our plan been fully funded, we would have returned American human spaceflight launches - and the jobs they support - back to the United States next year. With the reduced level of funding approved by Congress, we're now looking at launching from U.S. soil in 2017. The choice here is between fully funding the plan to bring space launches back to America or continuing to send millions of dollars to the Russians. It's that simple. The Obama Administration chooses to invest in America - and we are hopeful that Congress will do the same" the statement on agency's Google Plus page read.