NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency report to Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, prior to the launch onboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 3, 2018.
MOSCOW, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) intends to continue cooperation with Russia in exploring outer space despite pressure from Washington, a Russian official said Thursday.
"It is precisely today that the Americans insist and ask us to continue the flight of the Soyuz spaceships with U.S. astronauts," Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, told the Rossiya 24 TV channel.
"They even asked us to develop a version of the Soyuz spaceship that could fly to the Moon and back again in order to create a backup space transport system," he added.
Commenting on the recent cancellation by NASA of his February visit to the United States, Rogozin said NASA has fallen victim to the struggle between President Donald Trump's administration and the U.S. Congress.
However, according to Rogozin, NASA defends its cooperation with Russia because it "understands perfectly well that the creation of a lunar orbital platform is the most complicated problem," which cannot be solved by it alone.
NASA does not want to implement this program without Russian support as it believes that risks would run out of reasonable limits, the Russian official said.
Russia is willing to continue space cooperation with the United States, but it wants to have a predictable partner free from any political "turbulence", he said.
The former Soviet Union agreed to implement the joint Apollo-Soyuz flight during Cold War in July 1975, Rogozin said.
So Roscosmos will wait for the situation to calm down in the United States and has invited NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and his colleagues to Russia to discuss future cooperation, he said.