MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) – NASA is continuing administrative talks with the Russian space agency Roscosmos as Washington’s position on cooperation in space with Moscow has softened, the deputy head of Roscosmos said Friday.
“We may again cooperate,” Sergei Savelyev said in a video on Friday at a conference devoted to the 53rd anniversary of Yury Gagarin’s historic first manned spaceflight.
Savelyev added that NASA’s earlier decision to freeze contacts with Russia had not caused any harm to either side.
Last week, NASA announced that amid tensions over Ukraine it would halt cooperation with Russia, excluding collaboration on the International Space Station.
“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,” the agency said.
The statement was followed by a clarification from the US State Department, saying it did not call upon NASA to suspend its contacts with Russia as it does not give orders to the agency.
Many NASA officials expressed displeasure with the decision, noting that scientific cooperation should not be politicized.
The easing of NASA’s position on Russia came as the agency encouraged the participation of US scientists at an upcoming international space research conference in Moscow this summer.
A letter, published on the website of the International Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), said that both the US Academy of Sciences and NASA had supported not only exempting the meeting from the recent NASA sanctions against Russia, but encouraging US space scientists to attend.