According to official information, Russia is now ready to extend the agreement with the USA on joint space flights to the International Space Station. An additional agreement for the continuation of cross-over flights for the years 2024 and 2025 is being prepared, said the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Yuri Borisov, on Saturday night, according to the Interfax news agency.
The ISS is one of the few objects on which Americans and Russians are still working together after the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine broke out at the end of February 2022. So far, cosmonauts and astronauts have also flown into space together. On Friday, US astronaut Loral O'Hara flew to the ISS with cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Niolai Tschub on board a Russian Soyuz capsule.
Due to the tensions, Russia has since announced that it will stop cooperation after 2024 and set up its own orbit station. However, since setting up the station takes time, Moscow later announced that it would consider staying on board the ISS until 2028.
The Soyuz launch vehicle carrying the two cosmonauts and the astronaut took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday. The space capsule docked with the ISS on Friday at 9:54 p.m. Moscow time (8:54 p.m. CEST), Interfax reported. The flight from Baikonur to the ISS only took a good three hours.
According to the plan, O'Hara will stay in space for about six months, Kononenko and Tschub even for about a year. Four exits into space and four arrivals of cargo flights are planned during the expedition. Numerous scientific experiments are also planned. This is Kononenko's fifth flight. O'Hara and Tschub, on the other hand, have their premiere.