15:29 GMT04 March 2021
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    Strained political relations between Russia and nations participating in the International Space Station (ISS) project do not affect their cooperation in space exploration, head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos Igor Komarov said Thursday.

    BAIKONUR (Sputnik) – A Russian Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft successfully brought Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren to the ISS earlier in Thursday.

    "Difficult relations between our countries have never had any impact on ties between space agencies or on the cooperative ISS exploitation program," Komarov told journalists after the successful launch.

    NASA administrator Bill Gerstenmaier, in turn, said space cooperation in the face of political differences could be an example for governments of how to work together. He added the recent extension of this cooperation until 2024 proved the project was a success.

    Komarov said Thursday that Moscow had agreed to prolong the exploitation of the space station for another nine years.

    The ISS program is a joint project among five participating space agencies: the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Russia’s Roscosmos, the European Space Agency (ESA), Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).


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