/ Europe Issued on: 22/09/2022 – 02:19
Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev (C) and Dmitri Petelin (R) and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio walk to report to Russia’s Roscosmos space agency in Kazakhstan on September 21, 2022. © Natalia Kolesnikova, AFP A US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts have arrived safely at the International Space Station (ISS), NASA said Wednesday, after blasting off on a Russian-operated flight in a rare instance of cooperation between Moscow and Washington.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos and NASA both distributed live footage of the launch from Kazakhstan and commentators speaking over the feed said it was stable and the crew was “feeling well”.
The three will spend six months on the ISS along with three other Russian cosmonauts, three other US astronauts and one Italian.
In response, Western capitals including Washington have hit Moscow with unprecedented sanctions and bilateral ties have sunk to new lows.
Russia’s only active female cosmonaut, Anna Kikina, is expected to travel to the orbital station in early October aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon.
Russian cosmonauts and Western astronauts have sought to steer clear of the conflict that is raging back on Earth, especially when in orbit together.
Russia leaving ISS Tensions in the space field have grown since Washington announced sanctions on Moscow’s aerospace industry — triggering warnings from Russia’s former space chief Dmitry Rogozin, an ardent supporter of the Ukraine war.
US space agency NASA called the decision an “unfortunate development” that would hinder scientific work on the ISS.
The ISS was launched in 1998 at a time of hope for US-Russia cooperation following their Space Race competition during the Cold War.
Experts say Roscosmos is now a shadow of its former self and has in recent years suffered a series of setbacks, including corruption scandals and the loss of a number of satellites and other spacecraft.