For over three decades, NASA’s space shuttle program was a source of national pride, securing American supremacy in space. After the space shuttle Atlantis touched down for the final time at Cape Canaveral on July 21, 2011, NASA had no alternative but to send its astronauts to the International Space Station as guests of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
What seemed to be a setback for US space exploration turned out to be fortunate serendipity for private space companies, who seized the opportunity and launched themselves into the space flight industry. Using its Dragon spacecraft, Elon Musk’s Space X has been transporting goods to the International Space Station since 2013. Beginning in May 2020, the company also started sending humans to the International Space Station onboard its Crew Dragon spacecraft. The third human SpaceX flight successfully arrived at its destination a few days ago.
Seeing this success, Russia has now decided to send its own cosmonauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in the future using american-made crafts, which seems to be a turning point in the flow of history. Maxim Khallamov, the director of the cosmonaut training center, confirmed to the Interfax news agency on Wednesday that four applicants had already been selected for training. The applicants, on the other hand, would have to go through a state-led screening process beforehand.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos has reached an agreement in principle with NASA, according to Sergei Krilyov, the director responsible for manned missions at the Russian space agency. According to Krilyov, cosmonauts will travel to the International Space Station (ISS) on American spacecraft, and astronauts will fly to the ISS on Russian rockets.
Cooperation between the two space states is, of course, becoming more difficult due to the current friction between the two countries. Indeed, the astronauts had to depart the space station twice on Monday owing to debris from spacecraft docked at the station after Russia shot down an ill-fated satellite. The Russian government has been accused of putting astronauts on the International Space Station in danger by testing an anti-satellite missile.
According to multiple reports, Russia conducted a test of an anti-satellite missile on Monday and successfully knocked down one of its own satellites, which was believed to date back to the Soviet era. According to the Washington Post, this is the first time that Russia has shown the ability to target a satellite using a rocket launched from the Earth’s atmosphere.
It was first reported that a defunct spacecraft had approached the International Space Station from Russia’s perspective, but this quickly changed.