NASA Chief Expects Cooperation With Russia on International Space Station to Continue
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on Thursday that he has full confidence Russia will extend its cooperation with the United States on the International Space Station (ISS) based on the continuing close cooperation and warm personal relations between crews from both countries and their control teams back on earth.
"I see the friendliness between the two crews. I have that confidence that Russia will extend (its) cooperation on the International Space Station," Nelson said during a press briefing. "I see the professional relationship between the astronauts and the cosmonauts ... and the two mission controls. I see that continuing."
Nelson explained he based his confidence on the long and unbroken record of cooperation, partnership and friendship between Soviet and Russian cosmonauts and US astronauts in space for almost half a century.
"I have confidence because I look at the history. In the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission those crews became fast friends forever. I see the professional relationship between the astronauts and the cosmonauts (continuing) today. I saw (US astronaut) Mark Vande Hei return with his two Russian crew mates from the ISS. The proof is the pudding," he said.
Nelson also recalled that when veteran Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, commander of the Russian crew on the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975 who died in 2019 at the age of 85, his US counterpart and then lifelong friend astronaut Thomas Stafford was one of the pall bearers at his funeral.