NASA fears soar as Russia cosmonauts ‘in a fighting mood’ as they head to ISS

ISS: Former NASA astronaut responds to Russian threats

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Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, has announced that it will be delivering its new batch of cosmonauts to the ISS. The announcement was shared by Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, along with a statement that sounded like a vague threat. In the tweet, Mr Rogozin described the cosmonauts as being in “a fighting mood”, sparking fears of a conflict on board the ISS threatening research.

Mr Rogozin tweeted in Russian: “The State Commission at Baikonur approved the main and backup crews of the Soyuz MS-21 manned spacecraft.

“The boys are in a fighting mood. Start tomorrow.”

While it’s possible that the Roscosmos chief was only using the expression as a figure of speech, his previous inflammatory remarks have sparked concerns that things onboard the ISS could get violent.

Most recently, he warned that the station, which is also home to NASA astronauts, could be sent tumbling back to Earth after sanctions were placed on Russia.

The first two components of the ISS come from the Russian modules “Zarya” and “Zvezda”, which use their engines to raise the orbit of the ISS from time to time when the upper layers of the atmosphere begin slowing down the station.

If Vladimir Putin decided to decouple these two modules, some experts have warned that the ISS would only survive for a short period of time before it enters Earth’s atmosphere.

Mr Rogozin stoked these fears on Twitter, sharing a horrifying map of where Russia could let the ISS crash.

Describing the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine as “illegal”, he said that the restrictions could disrupt the operations of Russian vessels servicing the ISS.

In Telegram posts, Mr Rogozin listed the Russian segments’ utilities, warning that it “provides duplication of the life support systems of the American segment”.

These utilities include obtaining oxygen, removing carbon dioxide, and removing harmful impurities from the atmosphere.

He added: “Also, Russian means provide backup of voice and telemetry communications of the American segment of the station with ground control points.”

In one post he shared a map, saying it was “created by American astronomers arguing with me” but “just shows that Russia would be least endangered by the destruction of the ISS”.

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The map shows that the ISS could crash nearly anywhere on Earth, with only Russia, part of Northern Europe and Northern Canada being relatively safe.

Mr Rogozin warned that western countries, “including those led by the dogs of war” should reconsider “the price of the sanctions they initiated against Roscosmos”.

He added: “The price of international space cooperation maniacally destroyed by the West. Crazy.”

Despite this, NASA has quelled any fears that its astronauts may be in danger.

Joel Montalbano, NASA manager of the ISS programme, said: “We work together. It’s not a process where one group can separate from the other.

“We need everything together in order to be successful in order to work.”

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