Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos has reassured the public that the US astronaut due to return to Earth soon will do so as scheduled onboard Russia’s space capsule vehicle on March 30.
“US astronaut Mark Vande Hei will travel back home in the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft together with Russia’s Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov on March 30. Roscosmos has never let anybody doubt its reliability as a partner,” the Roscosmos’ press service has said.
Previously, Head of Russia’s Space Agency Dmitry Rogozin, a close ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin, posted a video in Russian that threatened to leave Vande Hei behind in space and detach Russia’s segment of the space station altogether.
Meanwhile, former National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut Scott Kelly who has commanded the International Space Station (ISS) on three expeditions said he was offended by the video and that Russia was out of line.
“It kind of enraged me that the country that we had been in this international partnership for 20 years would take the time to make a video to threaten to leave behind one of the crew members they are responsible for,” Kelly said.
“When you’re in space and you’re flying around the Earth at 17,500 miles an hour and in a very hazardous environment, cooperation is the most important thing,” Kelly also said.
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