Skip to main content

NASA to end most activities with Russia

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 5:21 AM EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NASA says it is suspending many operations with Russia because of Ukraine
  • But U.S., Russian agencies will continue joint International Space Station operations
  • The U.S. space agency is reliant on Russian spacecraft to reach the ISS
  • NASA says more funding from Congress would mean it could resume space flights sooner

(CNN) -- NASA is suspending much of its work with Russia in light of its actions in Ukraine but said it will continue to collaborate with Russia's space agency on International Space Station operations.

The decision by the U.S. space agency to halt "the majority of its ongoing engagements" with Russia's Roscosmos comes amid heightened tensions sparked by Russia's annexation last month of Ukraine's southern Crimea region.

A statement sent out by NASA on Wednesday said the U.S. space agency was acting "given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

But, the statement said, it will continue to work with Roscosmos to "maintain safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station."

Russia raises price on gas for Ukraine
See U.S., Russia crew lift off into space
Russia could invade 12 hours after order

In 2011, NASA retired its space shuttle fleet, its only means of getting to and from the station. Now, Russian Soyuz capsules ferry U.S. astronauts and cosmonauts, together with supplies that can fit in the smaller craft.

In its statement, NASA appealed for more funding from Congress to help it resume manned American space flights.

"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," it said.

"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. space agency's decision to suspend many activities comes in the same week that 28-member defense bloc NATO said it was ending cooperation with Russia over its activities in Ukraine.

Western leaders have condemned Russia's annexation of Crimea as a violation of international law and called on Moscow to pull back the tens of thousands of troops it has massed near Ukraine's eastern border.

Russia says its forces are there to take part in military exercises and will return to base when those are finished.

Russia recalls ambassador to NATO amid Ukraine tensions

Opinion: Is Vladimir Putin irrational?

Amid U.S.-Russia tensions, space show goes on

CNN's Suzanne Presto contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:17 AM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Donetsk's neediest line up for food handouts. There are long queues at the bus station as people try to leave town. There are no banks left open.
updated 5:25 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Barking overwhelms the thud of artillery fire. An animal shelter is crammed with 1,000 dogs, many orphans of the conflict with owners who have fled or been killed.
updated 3:51 AM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Reza Sayah looks into why thousands of Ukrainians have left their old lives to volunteer to fight.
updated 4:48 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
CNN's Ralitsa Vassileva speaks to The New Republic's Linda Kinstler about Putin's motives with Ukraine and China.
updated 10:36 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
President Barack Obama speaks at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
updated 5:58 PM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
The Commander of NATO forces in Europe says Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian troops -- all heading into Ukraine.
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 broke apart in the air after it was hit by a burst of "high-energy objects" from outside, a preliminary report by Dutch aviation investigators said Tuesday.
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
On a country road in eastern Ukraine, a scene of bucolic tranquility was suddenly interrupted by the aftermath of carnage.
updated 4:19 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
In the city of Donetsk, the devastation wrought by weeks of fighting between pro-Russia rebels and Ukrainian forces is all too apparent.
updated 8:00 PM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
CNN's Diana Magnay reports from the front lines in the Ukrainian conflict.
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
updated 9:43 AM EDT, Sat August 23, 2014
A shopkeeper's mutilated body, relatives' anguish, homes destroyed ... this is Donetsk.
updated 7:12 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
A 20-minute drive from Kiev takes you to a neighborhood that feels more like Beverly Hills than central Ukraine.
updated 9:12 AM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Photos illustrate the ongoing crisis in Ukraine as fighting continues to flare in the region.
updated 12:31 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Future imports, exports between the EU and Russia are now banned -- but existing contracts continue.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 5:25 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
The downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 put the pro-Russia rebels operating in Ukraine's eastern region center stage.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT