CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- NASA has suspended operations with Russia - except for the joint operation of the International Space Station - due to tensions over Ukraine, the U.S. space agency announced yesterday.
"Given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, NASA is suspending the majority of its ongoing engagements with the Russian Federation," NASA said in a statement. "NASA and Roscosmos will, however, continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station. NASA is laser focused on a plan to return human spaceflight launches to American soil, and end our reliance on Russia to get into space. This has been a top priority of the Obama Administration’s for the past five years, and had our plan been fully funded, we would have returned American human spaceflight launches – and the jobs they support – back to the United States next year. With the reduced level of funding approved by Congress, we’re now looking at launching from U.S. soil in 2017. The choice here is between fully funding the plan to bring space launches back to America or continuing to send millions of dollars to the Russians. It’s that simple.."
The U.S. pays Russia over $70 million per astronaut to be launched from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station.