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US, Russia Should Extend Space Cooperation After Russian Rockets Replaced

© Flickr / manhhaiSTS-135 Atlantis Launch (July 8, 2011)
STS-135 Atlantis Launch (July 8, 2011) - Sputnik International
The United States needs to maintain close space cooperation with Russia even if it develops new rockets to carry US astronauts, former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chief Richard Truly told Sputnik.

COLORADO SPRINGS (Sputnik) — The United States is still seeking to develop new man-rated boosters that can carry US astronauts independently into space, a capability that NASA lost after the last active space shuttle Atlantis took its final flight in July 2011.

Until NASA or private contractors succeed in developing and testing a new man-rated booster, US astronauts will have to continue to fly to the International Space Station in Russian Soyuz spacecraft launched on Proton boosters.

"I see no reason that that should be a damper in the long-term of cooperation between Russia and the United States," Truly said in an interview at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs on Wednesday.

Continued cooperation between United States and Russia on space issues remained crucially important, especially in light of the current political tensions between the two countries, Truly maintained.

"It is very important. One of the things over many years that Russia and the United States have had to keep us together is the space program… I hope that cooperation continues… I think it’s important that we develop this capability that we are working on."

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