NASA prepares for Roscosmos chief’s visit underway despite criticism in Washington

Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin

Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin

© Sergey Savostyanov/TASS

WASHINGTON, January 2. /TASS/. Preparations for the visit by head of the Russia’s Roscosmos Space Corporation Dmitry Rogozin to the US continue in spite of criticism from officials in Washington, NASA spokeswoman Megan Powers has said.

“Planning for a potential visit by the Director-General [of Roscomos Dmitry Rogozin] is still underway,” the Politico newspaper quotes her as saying.

“The U.S./Russian relationship in space dates back to the 1970s,” she stressed. “NASA has historically invited the head of the Russian space agency to visit the United States. Following this precedent, and Administrator Bridenstine’s October visit to Russia to participate in crew launch activities to the International Space Station, NASA invited the Director-General of Roscosmos to visit NASA facilities in the United States and discuss our ongoing space-related cooperation.”

A number of US officials and legislators earlier criticized Rogozin’s planned visit to the US. “It absolutely sends the wrong message to lift sanctions, even temporarily, for the purpose of inviting him to speak to students at one of our nation’s premier universities,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In October, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told TASS that he would like Rogozin to speak at Rice University in Houston, Texas, during his visit to the US. According to Bridenstine, the Trump administration has made a decision to pause sanctions against Rogozin so that he could pay a visit to the United States at NASA’s invitation. Rogozin has been under US sanctions since 2014 in connection with the situation in Ukraine.

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