Last week, a flurry of quality reports worryingly claimed that Russia was threatening to strand an American astronaut connected the International Space Station successful nonstop effect to sanctions placed connected the state arsenic it continues to invade neighboring Ukraine. But Russia’s authorities abstraction corp Roscosmos is trying to put those fears to rest, saying that it volition bring location the astronaut arsenic planned.
The NASA astronaut successful question is Mark Vande Hei, who has been surviving connected the International Space Station since April 2021. Vande Hei launched to the ISS connected a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan, on with 2 cosmonauts. While surviving connected the ISS, his enactment was extended to a afloat year, and helium is slated to instrumentality location successful different Soyuz capsule connected March 30th. When helium returns home, he’ll person the grounds for longest continuous spaceflight by an American astronaut, at astir 353 days.
Fears that Russia mightiness really garbage to bring Vande Hei location connected the Soyuz started circulating past week. The root of the disorder came from a video shared by RIA Novosti, a Russian authorities quality program, connected March 5th that showed footage of Vande Hei connected the ISS with his chap Russian cosmonauts. The clip was chopped unneurotic successful specified a mode to marque it look similar the Russians were going to permission him down and past detach the Russian information of the ISS altogether.
The seriousness of this “threat,” however, was ever successful doubt. Dmitry Rogozin, the caput of Roscosmos, shared the video to his Telegram channel, on with a connection from RIA Novosti that implied it was a joke. “The Roscosmos tv workplace jokingly demonstrated the anticipation of Russia withdrawing from the ISS task — the undocking of the Russian conception of the station, without which the American portion of the task cannot exist,” the caption read.
But plentifulness of US quality reports took the video rather seriously. Good Morning America and Fox News ran stories claiming that Russia was threatening to permission Vande Hei behind, on with several other outlets. Now, Russia is refuting those claims in a caller communicative from TASS, different of the country’s state-run media outlets.
“US astronaut Mark Vande Hei volition question backmost location successful the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft unneurotic with Russia’s Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov connected March 30,” Roscosmos said successful a statement, according to TASS. Vande Hei and the remainder of his unit are slated to onshore successful Kazakhstan, arsenic has been the landing destination for each erstwhile Soyuz landings. Meanwhile, NASA has besides maintained that both the US abstraction bureau and Roscosmos proceed to enactment together connected the International Space Station and that operations proceed arsenic normal.
In the TASS study refuting the claims astir Vande Hei, Roscosmos tried to downplay the furor. “Roscosmos has ne'er fto anybody uncertainty its reliability arsenic a partner,” the corporation’s property work said.
To beryllium fair, it’s becoming thing of a situation for Roscosmos’ partners to discern erstwhile to instrumentality “joke” abstraction reports from Russian media and Dmitry Rogozin seriously. Rogozin has been connected a spot of a Twitter tirade these past fewer weeks, tweeting assorted aggravated statements and memes successful effect to the United States and Europe sanctioning Russia implicit the Ukraine invasion. They’ve ranged from menacing threats — similar erstwhile helium floated the thought of the ISS crashing down connected the US without Russia’s assistance — to ridiculous videos — like this 1 of a Tom and Jerry cartoon, with the characters labeled arsenic “Ukraine,” “Russia,” and “NATO.”
Rogozin is the caput of Russia’s abstraction program, and the things helium says online bash sometimes construe to existent policy. For instance, Rogozin tweeted a video of himself connected March 2nd, successful which helium issues a bid of conditional demands to Roscosmos lawsuit OneWeb. Roscosmos was expected to motorboat a caller batch of satellites for OneWeb connected a Russian Soyuz rocket connected March 5th from Kazakhstan, but Rogozin said Russia would not determination guardant with the motorboat unless the institution promised the satellites would not beryllium utilized for subject purposes and that the UK authorities divest its full involvement successful OneWeb. The institution did not acquiesce to the demands, and arsenic a result, Roscosmos rolled backmost the Soyuz from the launchpad. The motorboat ne'er took place.