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Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina
Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina was aboard the SpaceX flight to the ISSImage: Maksim Blinov/Sputnik/dpa/picture alliance
ScienceRussian Federation

Cosmonaut flies from US to ISS

October 5, 2022

The flight marks the first time a Russian cosmonaut has launched to space from the United States in two decades. NASA and Russia's Roscosmos have continued cooperation despite tensions over Ukraine.

https://p.dw.com/p/4HnhE

A Russian cosmonaut on Wednesday launched to the International Space Station (ISS) alongside NASA and Japanese astronauts.

This is the first time in 20 years that a Russian cosmonaut has launched to space from the US.

What do we know about the flight?

The SpaceX launch vehicle lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at noon local time (1600 GMT/UTC).

The flight was delayed by Hurricane Ian, which hit the state of Florida last week.

The four-member team will form the next long-duration crew at the ISS, and is set to return to Earth in March 2023.

The flight is expected to reach the ISS on Thursday evening, about 29 hours after the launch.

This is the sixth ISS crew that has flown aboard a SpaceX vehicle since the private firm began sending US astronauts to space in May 2020.

First Russian to fly on US spacecraft since 2002

On board the vehicle is Anna Kikina, who will be the first Russian cosmonaut to fly aboard an American spacecraft since a NASA space shuttle launch in 2002.

Under a deal signed by NASA and Russian space agency Roscosmos in July, a US astronaut took Kikina's seat aboard a Soyuz flight that launched to the ISS from Kazakhstan last month.

The ISS was in part created to improve relations between Russia and the United States following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

NASA-Roscosmos cooperation has continued despite tensions between the two countries over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

During a news briefing on Monday, Roscosmos official Sergei Krikalev said the agency has the Kremlin's approval to continue cooperating working on the ISS until 2024. He said Moscow hopes to build its own space station, but plans to keep flying with the US space agency until then.

NASA hopes to keep the outpost running with existing partners, including Russia, until around 2030.

sdi/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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