Russia, U.S. considering new joint projects in ISS – newspaper

International Space Station file photo

(Interfax – June 4, 2014) Russia and the United States may soon announce new joint projects regarding the International Space Station (ISS), Izvestia wrote on Wednesday quoting First Deputy Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medical and Biological Problems Oleg Orlov.

“Roscosmos has set a task to intensify the ISS scientific program. We are prepared. For instance, we are discussing with the U.S. partners the possibility to pool resources of the Russian and U.S. ISS segments and to conduct some research projects together. Scientists could use the engineering potential possessed by us and the partners. The crews may take a more active part in the scientific research program,” Orlov said.

The Russian-U.S. working group on space biology and medicine was formed over 40 years ago and it did not stop working even at the tensest moments of the Cold War, he said.

“We discussed joint experiments with the U.S. partners at the joint working group on space biology and medicine this April, after NASA announced the sanctions, their status, the notion of a joint experiment, regulations concerning the shared use of the crew’s time and so on,” Orlov said.

Colleagues dealing with biology and a group on medical and physiological studies are also at work, he continued. They are discussing cooperation options provided by the prospective yearlong mission to the ISS.

Experiments in a new U.S. module built to accommodate animals are on the agenda, Orlov said.

“The U.S. colleagues will add an animal science module to the ISS. We had long wished to open such a laboratory at the station but could not do so. The Americans made better progress and we are discussing parameters of a joint research program to utilize their module and equipment. We are also negotiating the use of Japanese research equipment with Japanese colleagues. Meanwhile, partners show an interest in some of our research projects,” he said.

The NASA Moscow office declined comment on the advancement of negotiations between Russian and U.S. scientists to the newspaper.

A Roscosmos liaison with NASA told Izvestia that the Americans were enthusiastic about the idea of joint scientific experiments.

“The Americans have tended to demonstrate a constructive and optimistic attitude in the latest informal contacts. They hint that the sanctions are just a curtsy to Washington bureaucrats,” he told the newspaper.

The newspaper reminded its readers that NASA suspended contacts with Russian governmental agencies, up to e-mails, over the situation in Ukraine in early April. The only exceptions were made for ISS projects and biological research in the outer space (Bion spacecraft).