The director of NASA’s manned space operations told a news conference on Monday that the organization would continue to operate the International Space Station as usual with its partners, including Russia. He also said that NASA would monitor the situation in Ukraine in cooperation with the State Department. NASA has been in such situations before, and both sides came up with a very professional approach and understood the situation.
Currently, NASA flight controllers in Russia and other officials continue to operate in Moscow, and relations between Russian and US executives are improving. There is no problem with the current work situation and they are working just like a few days before the declaration of war.
NASA also plans to bring one of its astronauts back to Earth in early spring with the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The spacecraft will land in Kazakhstan, and NASA officials will go first to Russia and then to Kazakhstan. They still expect all the legal steps of this mission to be completed as usual.
In addition, on April 10, 1401, the Axiom 1 mission will travel to the International Space Station on a commercial mission with the Crudragon SpaceX capsule. But due to the uncertain future of the space station and the current situation, there have been discussions about carrying out this mission. Russia has not yet determined the status of its cooperation after 2024. NASA said the space station’s occupants had experienced similar political tensions in the past, but that had not happened in the station’s 20-year history.
What is NASA planning?
If a decision is made to split the space station into two parts and the Russian part of the station, NASA will need emergency scenarios to support the station. A NASA spokesman told a news conference that the organization had always sought to increase the flexibility of its operations, and that companies supplying NASA cargo spacecraft were also seeking to increase that flexibility.
For example, one Northrop Grumman spacecraft is currently attached to the space station and is set to adjust the height of the station for the first time in a maneuver. Since the Dragon Space X capsules do not have an engine to perform such a maneuver, a NASA spokesman said he was looking to increase his flexibility with cargo dragons. He did not say anything about the Boeing Starliner going to the space station in early spring, but the spacecraft could do the same.