JUST IN: Russia Threatens To Abandon American Astronaut In Space
JUST IN: Russia Threatens To Abandon American Astronaut In Space

JUST IN: Russia Threatens To Abandon American Astronaut In Space

2 years ago
2 mins read

Threats and counter-threats between the US and Russia, owing to the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, may not quell anytime soon as the Russian Space Agency has posted a video on social media threatening to abandon U.S. astronaut, Mark Vande Hei in space.

Astronaut Vande Hei, who holds the ongoing record for longest space flight was set to end his 355 days in space in three weeks’ time. The plan was for him to land in Kazakhstan with two Russian cosmonauts on a Russian spacecraft. But everything seems to go south due to the unprecedented US sanctions against Russia which could put Vande Hei’s return on hold or even abandoned up high in the sky.

Just in case you missed it, President Joe Biden of the USA had announced new sanctions, including cutting more than half of Russia’s high-tech imports after Russia invaded Ukraine more than two weeks ago.

According to Biden at a White House address on February 24: “It’ll degrade their aerospace industry, including their space program.”

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s Space Agency and a close ally to Russian President, Vladimir Putin, had replied to Biden in a series of hostile tweets. The agency then went ahead to post a video in Russian which threatened to leave Vande Hei behind in the International Space Station (ISS) and detach Russia’s segment of the space station altogether.

Reacting, a former astronaut, Scott Kelly said: “I was just enraged that he, the [cosmonauts], said that they were going to leave an American crew member behind. I never thought I would ever hear anything so outrageous.”

Although the war has continued to wage here on Earth, Kelly said, he hopes that the US-Russian partnership in space can be mended.

“I’ve known [people at the Russian Space Agency], many of them for well over two decades, I trust them. I’ve literally trusted them with my life before.”

He however added that the U.S. should still “prepare for the worst” and “hope for the best.”

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, has maintained silence over Rogozin’s threats to abandon Vande Hei in space.

Recall that the ISS is divided into two sections: The Russian Orbital Segment operated by Russia and the United States Orbital Segment run by the U.S.

American and Russian astronauts were the first to step inside the ISS in 1998 and have maintained partnership ever since. When the U.S. shuttle program ended in 2011, U.S. astronauts like Cady Coleman relied exclusively on Russian rockets to get her on board the station.

Coleman had hinted that once on board the craft, where you came from didn’t matter, and it was all about how to work and live with one another.

“Space is hard and space is dangerous. And in my experience … with our Russian partners it means sitting down, having a meal together. It means talking about what’s hard for you, what’s hard for them and how together we can get this accomplished. [We] look each other in the eye and realize that we’re all about the same thing,” she shared.



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