Russia says it won’t strand American astronaut in area regardless of media experiences
Last week, a flurry of reports experiences worryingly claimed that Russia was threatening to strand an American astronaut on the International Space Station in direct response to sanctions positioned on the nation because it continues to invade neighboring Ukraine. But Russia’s state area company Roscosmos is making an attempt to place these fears to relaxation, saying that it’s going to deliver house the astronaut as deliberate.
The NASA astronaut in query is Mark Vande Hei, who has been residing on the International Space Station since April 2021. Vande Hei launched to the ISS on a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan, together with two cosmonauts. While residing on the ISS, his keep was prolonged to a full yr, and he’s slated to return house in one other Soyuz capsule on March thirtieth. When he returns house, he’ll have the report for longest steady spaceflight by an American astronaut, at round 353 days.
Fears that Russia would possibly really refuse to deliver Vande Hei house on the Soyuz began circulating final week. The supply of the confusion got here from a video shared by RIA Novosti, a Russian state information program, on March fifth that confirmed footage of Vande Hei on the ISS along with his fellow Russian cosmonauts. The clip was lower collectively in such a strategy to make it look like the Russians have been going to depart him behind after which detach the Russian portion of the ISS altogether.
The seriousness of this “threat,” nevertheless, was all the time unsure. Dmitry Rogozin, the top of Roscosmos, shared the video to his Telegram channel, together with a message from RIA Novosti that implied it was a joke. “The Roscosmos television studio jokingly demonstrated the possibility of Russia withdrawing from the ISS project — the undocking of the Russian segment of the station, without which the American part of the project cannot exist,” the caption learn.
But loads of US information experiences took the video fairly significantly. Good Morning America and Fox News ran tales claiming that Russia was threatening to depart Vande Hei behind, together with a number of different retailers. Now, Russia is refuting these claims in a brand new story from TASS, one other of the nation’s state-run media retailers.
“US astronaut Mark Vande Hei will travel back home in the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft together with Russia’s Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov on March 30,” Roscosmos mentioned in a press release, in response to TASS. Vande Hei and the remainder of his crew are slated to land in Kazakhstan, as has been the touchdown vacation spot for all earlier Soyuz landings. Meanwhile, NASA has additionally maintained that each the US area company and Roscosmos proceed to work collectively on the International Space Station and that operations proceed as regular.
In the TASS report refuting the claims about Vande Hei, Roscosmos tried to downplay the furor. “Roscosmos has never let anybody doubt its reliability as a partner,” the company’s press service mentioned.
To be truthful, it’s turning into one thing of a problem for Roscosmos’ companions to discern when to take “joke” area experiences from Russian media and Dmitry Rogozin significantly. Rogozin has been on a little bit of a Twitter tirade these previous few weeks, tweeting numerous offended statements and memes in response to the United States and Europe sanctioning Russia over the Ukraine invasion. They’ve ranged from menacing threats — like when he floated the concept of the ISS crashing down on the US with out Russia’s assist — to ridiculous movies — like this certainly one of a Tom and Jerry cartoon, with the characters labeled as “Ukraine,” “Russia,” and “NATO.”
Rogozin is the top of Russia’s area program, and the issues he says on-line do generally translate to precise coverage. For occasion, Rogozin tweeted a video of himself on March 2nd, during which he points a sequence of conditional calls for to Roscosmos buyer OneWeb. Roscosmos was purported to launch a brand new batch of satellites for OneWeb on a Russian Soyuz rocket on March fifth from Kazakhstan, however Rogozin mentioned Russia wouldn’t transfer ahead with the launch except the corporate promised the satellites wouldn’t be used for army functions and that the UK authorities divest its whole stake in OneWeb. The firm didn’t acquiesce to the calls for, and because of this, Roscosmos rolled again the Soyuz from the launchpad. The launch by no means passed off.