Russian Space Chief’s Trip Postponed
NASA head had invited the Russian space chief to visit the U.S. but canceled to a political outcry as the individual faces personal sanctions for being an architect of aggression on Ukraine
Russia’s space agency says it is demanding an explanation after NASA called off the planned visit to the United States by Dmitry Rogozin, the chief of Roskosmos who is subject to U.S. and European Union sanctions.
In a statement cited by the state-run TASS news agency today, Roskosmos said that “it expects official explanations of NASA’s position” and stressed that Rogozin’s visit was planned “in accordance with an invitation received earlier.”
Roskosmos added that planned talks on possible cooperation with the United States on the International Space Station (ISS) are “so far not suspended.”
Earlier, Roskosmos said it had not received notification from NASA that the visit had been postponed.
NASA made the announcement on Friday, following critical press reports and calls by U.S. lawmakers to cancel the visit.
“NASA has informed the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, that [Rogozin’s visit] currently planned for February 2019 will need to be postponed,” NASA spokeswoman Megan Powers said in a statement on Thursday.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, a former Republican congressman, told TASS in October that he had invited Rogozin to visit the NASA headquarters and that he would seek a waiver to travel a ban against him. The invitation was not widely reported in the United States at the time.
After a story on Jan. 1 in Politico brought the visit to light, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen called on NASA the following day to withdraw the invitation “before Congress is forced to act.”
“Administrator Bridenstine’s invitation to Dmitry Rogozin, one of the leading architects of the Kremlin’s campaign of aggression towards its neighbors, undercuts our message and undermines the United States’ core national security objectives,” she said in a statement.