The head of the Russian space program is seeking more international cooperation in NASA’s lunar projects

The head of the Russian space program is seeking more international cooperation in NASA's lunar projects

The head of Russia’s space program today said NASA’s plans to send people back to the moon were “US-centric” for Russia to participate. He has been critical of the plan in the past, and now says that Russia is open to participation only if the lunar plans focus more on international cooperation.

“The most important thing here is that this project is based on the principles of international cooperation that we have all used to fly the ISS,” Dmitry Rogozin, director general of Roscosmos, told a virtual press conference through a translator. International Space Congress. He added: “If we can consider making these policies the foundation of the project, Roscosmos could also consider its participation.”

Rogosin has made it clear that he is not a fan of NASA’s Moon program, an initiative called Artemis, which aims to send the first woman to the lunar surface. Part of the project’s design calls for the creation of a space station around the moon, called the Lunar Gateway, which will act as an orbital outpost for astronauts to view before landing on the moon’s surface.

NASA has already partnered with some international companies for Artemis – especially Canada and Europe – but the US space agency is carrying out almost all key components of the program, including rockets, capsules, landers and gateway modules. Rogos has been vocal about not liking the US-led approach.

“As far as the United States is concerned, this is a political project now,” Rokosin said In July, the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya told Pravta. “Through the Lunar Project, we have been watching our US partners move away from the policies of cooperation and mutual support that developed during their cooperation with the ISS. They see their program as NATO, not internationally. , We are not interested in participating in such a project. ”

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There is also rocosin Contempt for NASA’s Artemis Agreements, A set of guidelines developed by the space agency and the US State Department for countries to follow when exploring the moon. These agreements demand standardized regulations on how to mine protected areas on the moon and lunar surface, such as the Apollo landing sites. In a now-deleted tweet, he compared Rogos’ agreements to “an invasion.”

Today, Rokosin doubles his views on Artemis. “In our view, the lunar gateway is very US-centric in its current form,” he told a news conference, noting that Russia “might largely avoid participating in it.” However, Rogosin said he hopes to have a docking port on the gateway, which will allow future Russian spacecraft to connect to the station if needed. “If Russia develops its own space transport system, we need an opportunity to go to the dock with the gateway,” Rokosin said.

Following the speech, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein said On the edge Artemis will use the same legal framework developed for the International Space Station to operate the gateway. “ISS not only advanced technology, but also helped us learn how to work effectively with different cultures and countries,” Brightenstein said in a statement via email. “This is why we use the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), the legal framework of the ISS for gateways.”

Bridenstein said NASA’s international partners have agreed to operate the gateway under a similar framework through a series of binding agreements, also known as MoUs or MoUs. He said he had sent a memorandum of understanding to Roscosmos in November last year regarding Gateway operations, but had not received a firm response. “We are open and interested in getting their feedback on the document and our general approach to using ISS’s IGAs at the gateway,” Brightenstein said in a statement.

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With regard to Rocosin’s docking ideas, Friedenstein stated that he agreed with the setting of the sharing standards – which was ultimately the purpose of the Artemis agreements, which Rocosin criticized. “Through the agreements, the United States urgently urges any partner who joins us on the Artemis voyage to focus on shared standards, not just docking, but data design and exchange, communications, navigation, environmental control and life support, and many other important systems and activities,” said Friedenstein. Said.

Said Britstein Reuters In July He hopes that NASA and Roscosmos will continue to work together. “I have a good relationship with Dmitry Rokosin, so I hope we have the opportunity to continue cooperating,” he said.

Update October 12, 1:19 PM and: This article has been updated to include a report by NASA Administrator Jim Friedenstein.

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