21:48 GMT +323 February 2018
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    ISS expedition 46/47 crew members, from left: British ESA astronaut Timothy Peake, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and US NASA astronaut Timothy Kopra in front of Soyuz TMA-M space craft simulator

    Russian-US Space Collaboration Intact Despite Chill in Bilateral Ties

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    Despite the deterioration of relations between Russia and the United States here on Earth, the two countries continue to cooperate when it comes to space exploration, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

    Moscow and Washington remain close allies in the space sector despite the cooler relationship between Russia and the US, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.

    According to the newspaper, despite the "nascent" rapprochement between Russia and the United States over Syria, Moscow's alleged "interference" in the Ukrainian conflict has caused diplomatic relations between Moscow and Washington to reach a post-Cold War low.

    Earlier this year, Washington imposed sanctions against Russia, and tried to isolate Moscow on the international arena.

    However, this failed to prevent the two countries from developing a "close partnership" in the space exploration sector, the newspaper said, adding that Washington needs Russia because the latter helps it send its astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

    International Space Station crew members captured this view of the station's remote controlled Canadarm protruding from the orbiting laboratory, with Earth's colorful aurora, sparkling city lights and a rising sun over a background of stars.
    International Space Station crew members captured this view of the station's remote controlled Canadarm protruding from the orbiting laboratory, with Earth's colorful aurora, sparkling city lights and a rising sun over a background of stars.

    In addition, US rockets are still equipped with Russian engines and will continue to use them until at least 2017, the newspaper recalled.

    After four decades of rivalry, the construction of the ISS gave a powerful impetus to space cooperation between Moscow and Washington in 1998. Also, Russia started sending American astronauts to the space outpost in 2011 following the closure of the US shuttle program, according to El Pais.

    When the people of Crimea, who are predominantly ethnically Russian, voted to rejoin Russia last year following a violent coup in Ukraine, NASA announced the suspension of all "minor" contacts with its Russian counterparts, but this decision did not affect ISS flights, the newspaper said.

    The United States has repeatedly tried to hammer out its own program to send astronauts to ISS, with Washington insisting on the need to avoid using Russian engines in US rockets.

    Understandably, Washington is concerned over its current dependence on Russia in the space sector, something that US authorities are unlikely to resolve in the near future, the newspaper concluded. 

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    Tags:
    cooperation, relations, space, allies, United States, Russia
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