06:26 GMT21 October 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States remains hopeful that Russia will join its Artemis program to return humans to the surface of the Moon by 2024, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Jim Bridenstine told a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

    Seven states participating in US lunar exploration efforts have joined the United States in signing the "Artemis Accords", Bridenstine said in a virtual event sponsored by the International Astronautical Conference. The event featured representatives of space agencies in Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, along with NASA and the US State Department

    "I remain very hopeful that Russia will join the Artemis Accords", Bridenstine said. "We will welcome what Russia might be willing to contribute to the program. We do value them as a partner and we hope they value us as a partner. ... All we are doing is operationalising what we have agreed to in the Outer Space Treaty".

    Russian Space Agency Roscosmos Director-General Dmitri Rogozin wanted to guarantee that when Moscow launched its own manned missions to the Moon its ships would be compatible with the docking procedures on the Gateway mini-space station that NASA wants to build in lunar orbit, Bridenstine said.

    "Rogozin, when he has a Russian capsule that can go to the Moon, he wants to make sure it can dock with the Gateway", Bridenstine said. "Rogozin has been extremely gracious to me. We have a great relationship. ...Exploring space together is our joint heritage".

    Next month, NASA and Roscosmos would celebrate 20 years of US astronauts and Russian cosmonauts working together in space, Bridenstine added.

    heritage, United Kingdom, technology, space exploration, Russia, United States
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