MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russia's Roscosmos space agency has yet received no official notifications from NASA on curtailing cooperation, and working contacts continue, Roscosmos chief Oleg Ostapenko said in an interview with Vedomosti newspaper Wednesday.
“Roscosmos has received no official notifications on suspending cooperation, we continue working contacts with NASA and other space agencies,” Ostapenko told Vedomosti adding: “Recently I held talks with the NASA leadership and European colleagues.”
The US space agency announced in early April that amid tensions over Ukraine it would halt cooperation with Russia but will continue working together on the International Space Station and participate in joint meetings at international events in third countries.
Russia's Roscosmos later said the United States eased its stance on space cooperation with Russia and NASA announced its plans to continue joint work in a number of other projects.
The Roscosmos chief expressed hope that the current tensions in Ukraine would not significantly affect joint space programs saying that “these projects are under major political pressure.”
Asked whether the US refusal to issue licenses on the launch of satellites, which are part of the US intellectual property, would seriously affect Russia, Ostapenko said such steps don’t work “for the better.”
“At the same time we are taking concrete steps that will give us an opportunity to work independently in this sphere. This will be done in the short term,” Ostapensko said.
In case of necessity, Russia is able to replace the supplies of Western parts, he said.
“But we are ready to cooperate as part of establishing joint ventures, transferring technologies and production in our territory to benefit us and our partners. It is important that this cooperation becomes mutually beneficial and isn’t used as a tool affecting the sides,” Ostapenko said.
Russian cosmonauts will continue to work with their colleagues from the US, Europe and Japan, despite NASA statements about suspending cooperation, Yuri Lonchakov, the head of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, said last week.