A Russian-made video posted on Telegram per week in the past is inflicting some anxiousness concerning the standing of a NASA astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
As shared by NASA Watch on Saturday (March 5), the video by Russian state information outlet RIA Novosti reveals NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei being left behind on the ISS slightly than departing on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft as deliberate.
Making issues worse are current feedback by Dmitry Rogozin, director-general of the Russian federal space company Roscosmos. Rogozin has posted many fiery tweets recently concerning the standing of the ISS partnership after quite a few international sanctions had been imposed in opposition to Russia as a result of nation’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Rogozin additionally mentioned in a Feb. 26 Russian TV interview that “professionals who work in the space industry, they are very much worried [about sanctions] and they do not know where this is going to go next,” in keeping with a machine translation of his feedback.
Some media sources are deciphering this video and Rogozin’s feedback to imply that Roscosmos could also be planning to go away Vande Hei behind, or do one thing else equally irresponsible on the ISS. That fear appears overblown in the meanwhile, nevertheless, on condition that NASA has careworn that the ISS partnership is continuing as regular.
And Rogozin himself recently said that Vande Hei will come dwelling in keeping with plan, dismissing as “hysterical” tales indicating in any other case.
Russian gov’t-controlled RIA Novosti @rianru posted a video on Telegram made by @Roscosmos the place cosmonauts say goodbye to Mark Vande Hei on #ISS, depart, after which the Russian section detaches from the remainder of ISS. @Rogozin is clearly threatening the ISS program. #NASA #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/fj2coK1xR1March 5, 2022
Vande Hei is on observe to break the American record for longest steady keep in space, which is at the moment held by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent 340 days aloft in 2015 and 2016. Vande Hei is scheduled to depart the ISS in a Soyuz on March 30 with two Russian cosmonauts, Anton Shkaplerov and Petr Dubrov, and land with them in Kazakhstan.
While NASA is in search of “operational flexibility” in coping with Roscosmos, the American company nonetheless expects Vande Hei to come back down as deliberate after which fly dwelling to Houston through regular procedures, NASA’s affiliate administrator for space operations Kathy Lueders emphasized late final month.
Officials “are getting ready for Mark to return, and all of the normal operations are in place for that for us to be able to do that,” Lueders mentioned throughout a Feb. 28 press convention about an unrelated non-public mission referred to as Axiom-1, which is about to launch to the ISS shortly after Vande Hei’s departure.
When Vande Hei comes right down to Earth, a group of NASA personnel and physicians (flying in from the United States) will likely be readily available to help with the lengthy switch again to Houston. There, Vande Hei will debrief and begin his journey of medical restoration, which is able to take months, since he has been uncovered to the microgravity surroundings since April 2021.
All of this being mentioned, NASA is already creating backups for key space station capabilities. For instance, an already docked Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft is predicted to do the first operational reboost of the ISS by a United States spacecraft.
Reboosts, a standard Russian duty carried out utilizing Progress cargo spacecraft, happen periodically to guarantee the orbiting advanced does not get dragged down by Earth’s ambiance. But Cygnus could possibly do this job by itself, and SpaceX has supplied to provide this service as properly.
The two sides of the space station — Russian and American — are deeply associated; Russia gives propulsion for your entire advanced, whereas the Americans generate the electrical energy, for instance. And current, deteriorating relations in different space tasks with Russian involvement have prompted Rogozin to ship loads of blustery messages on Twitter.
A current set of Twitter barbs exchanged with Kelly, for instance, noticed Rogozin at one level inform the astronaut, “Get off, you moron! Otherwise the death of the ISS will be on your conscience.” That tweet has since been deleted.
Kelly told CNN that he determined to tackle Rogozin after seeing the notorious video of Vande Hei being left behind, which he additionally described as an unlikely state of affairs.
“If he’s going to act like a child, then I’m going to treat him like one,” Kelly mentioned. “It’s just unimaginable that the Russian space program would leave a person behind in space that they were responsible for bringing home. I don’t see that happening.”
Another set of Rogozin’s tweets made the rounds in late February because the Roscosmos chief reacted to sanctions on Russian business introduced by U.S. President Joe Biden.
“Do you want to destroy our cooperation on the ISS?” learn one of many Feb. 24 tweets from Rogozin (as translated from Russian by Google).
“If you block cooperation with us,” Rogozin added in two other tweets that day, “who will save the ISS from an unguided deorbit to impact on the territory of the US or Europe? There’s also the chance of impact of the 500-ton construction in India or China. Do you want to threaten them with such a prospect?”
Rogozin, nevertheless, is known within the space world for creating controversial content material. That set of tweets in response to Biden’s sanctions, for instance, additionally instructed that the folks accountable for imposing them could also be “suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.” And when Rogozin banned the sale of Russian engines to the U.S. on March 3, he declared, “Let them fly on something else, their broomsticks.”
Rogozin’s most well-known blustery assertion got here in 2014, when Russia was beneath a distinct set of sanctions for annexing Crimea. He instructed that American astronauts ought to go to space by trampoline as an alternative of utilizing Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.
Today, nevertheless, the state of affairs is far totally different. In 2014, the Americans certainly depended solely on the Soyuz for ISS entry as a result of industrial replacements for the space shuttle (which retired in 2011) weren’t but prepared.
Now, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is a veteran human-flown spacecraft, and NASA ordered three more crewed flights on it just some days in the past. Boeing’s Starliner is not prepared but however could also be up for crewed flights in a 12 months or so, pending the results of a second uncrewed test flight scheduled for May.