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In the midst of conflict, the Russians brought home an American astronaut

In the midst of conflict, the Russians brought home an American astronaut

Mark Vande Hee, a NASA astronaut who just spent 355 days in space, joined the International Space Station with a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Today he borrows the same car to get back to Earth. It will be his landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan along with his Russian colleagues.

Mark Vandy He, a NASA astronaut who will soon return to Earth © NASA

Many space programs were affected by the Russian invasion In Ukraine and the series of sanctions that followed. The management of the International Space Station, the Mars Exomars program is directly affected. Not to mention the angry tweets from Dmitriy Rogozin

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Since the first sanctions, the head of the Russian Space Agency has threatened the Americans to allow the International Space Station to return to Earth, arguing that without the “pushing” ships of progress, the height of the International Space Complex would have been relentlessly losing altitude. Half of the truth is that the interdependence between the Russians and the Americans is great in this project. Partners can not do without each other in reality.

Nothing is known about the last weeks of coexistence between the United States and Russia on the International Space Station. Have relations deteriorated between Mark Vande He, who came about a year ago with Soyuz and his two fellow Russian cosmonauts? Are they talking about the situation on Earth, the sanctions, and the future of space cooperation? Nothing filters.

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Radio silence from the Russian side

What is certain is that the re-entry routine on Earth will occur as if nothing had happened. The three men will run in a Soyuz capsule, wearing their spacesuits. Anton Shkaplerov, Commander, Pyotr Dubrov and Mark Vande Hee will separate from the International Space Station at 12:21 p.m. Paris time, landing two hours later on the Khazak Plain. Members of NASA and Roscosmos (the Russian space agency) will welcome them as usual, supporting them to extricate themselves from the charred capsule. The American, in particular, after 355 days of weightlessness, may lack the muscle strength to stand. We can imagine the limited but not necessarily icy exchanges between the two teams until NASA boarded the plane back to the United States.

Since the beginning of the conflict, activity has continued on the ISS: science experiments, maintenance, extravehicular outings. None of the crew, consisting of ten astronauts, spoke about the current geopolitical situation. Russian cosmonauts have not tweeted since late February, but Everyone acted as if nothing had happened. There are two taboo topics on board: politics and religion Remembering Thomas Bisquet during the Alpha mission. However, some pesky minds have found themselves to associate the color of the newcomers’ suits (canary yellow with some blue additions) to seeing a reminder of the Ukrainian flag.

The International Space Station has seen others

The Russians, as Americans, the two main partners are obligated to maintain cooperation without hesitation given the obligations that bind them. In the large space complex, the modules are separated and it is not uncommon for you to stay in your area. Thomas Bisquet, for example, said That his colleague Oleg Novitsky systematically requested permission to attend and work in the European Union during his mission. Meals are not taken together systematically. So it is possible without increasing the tension to coexist even in an enclosed space like the International Space Station.

Astronauts and astronauts are experienced in exercises and are chosen for their ability to overcome tensions. “There have been tense moments in the history of space exploration“Says Xavier Pasco, Director of the Foundation for Strategic Research. Despite the statements of Dmitry Rogozin, all activities continued normally because”All ISS executives agree to maintain the partnership.” Highlights Jean-Francois Clairvoy, former astronaut and president of Novespace.