Friday, April 04, 2014

‘We Did Not Tell NASA to Stop Cooperation With Russia’ – US State Department

The US State Department did not call upon NASA to suspend its contacts with Russia, a spokesperson for the State Department said Thursday.
NASA announced on Wednesday that amid tensions over Ukraine it would freeze cooperation with Russia, excluding collaboration on the International Space Station.
"I know that there were false reports on Thursday claiming that the US State Department told them to do that. As much as I would have liked to give orders to NASA, we do not do that," said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.

The Verge network reported that the space agency's decision was made based on instructions sent by the State Department to all federal agencies, including NASA.
Ivan Moiseyev, the director of the Russian Space Policy Institute, told RIA Novosti on Thursday that the freeze was unlikely to have any catastrophic repercussions for the Russian space program, adding that Russia does not depend on the US space industry.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the space industry, also doubted the move will have any negative consequences for Roscosmos.

"NASA has halted cooperation with Roscosmos, except for work on the ISS. But our cooperation with NASA was only on the ISS," Rogozin said by Twitter on Thursday.
NASA promised last month that the current crisis in Ukraine would not affect longstanding civilian space contacts with Russia, which date to the early 1990s.
A number of NASA employees have condemned the latest decision to suspend the ties, saying cooperation in the peaceful exploration of outer space should not be affected by earthly politics.

Tensions between Russia and the West rose after the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February, followed by the rise to power of Ukrainian nationalist politicians in the new government in Kiev, which Moscow considers illegitimate.
The subsequent reunification of Crimea with Russia, sparked by deepening concerns about ultranationalistic threats to the Russian-speaking population of the region, triggered a crisis in relations between Moscow and the West.
Updated to clarify Harf's title

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