Roscosmos, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) all understand that if co-operation breaks down, it will seriously affect each other’s work, the head of Russia’s Federal Space Agency has said.
“It’s very easy to make hasty decisions which would interrupt our co-operation. In many respects, we and our partners understand that it will put us back, and so from the space agencies there’s an understanding that this cooperation needs to be maintained and continued,” Roscosmos director Igor Komarov, said Saturday in an interview with Russia-24.
The space agencies understand the need to work together in the cosmos despite political tensions back on Earth, Komarov said.
“Since we rely so much on each other, both in scientific research and the activities of the ISS [International Space Station], our outer space activity is one of the spheres in which we hold an advantage, and this in many ways enable us to move forward together and work together effectively.”
On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin confirmed that Russia would not stop its supply of RD-180 rocket engines to the US as doing so would harm the national interest.
“We could now, for example, cut off the delivery of RD-180 jet engines for US missiles,” Rogozin said as quoted by RIA Novosti. “We discussed this issue, I will not hide it. I summoned our specialists several times. [But then] we thought – why?”
Congress banned the Pentagon from using RD-180 engines at one point following tensions with Russia over Crimea and Ukraine. The ban, was however, eased in 2015, after fears that it could drive United Launch Alliance (ULA) – a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co – out of business, leaving only the privately-owned SpaceX with the capability to launch satellites.
The ULA immediately placed an order for 20 RD-180 engines.
And although Russia and the United States may have their problems on the ground, their space agencies, astronauts and cosmonauts have historically worked together on a number of projects including the International Space Station, which also involves Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency.