Jim Bridenstine, head of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), does not intend to go abroad any time soon, not even to Russia, his press secretary Megan Powers told TASS on Thursday.
“The director currently does not have plans to make any trips abroad,” she said when asked whether Bridenstine intended to travel to Russia to meet with Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. “Future travel plans… are still under consideration,” Powers added.
She also commented on NASA’s plans to continue to use Russian-made Soyuz rockets to send its astronauts to the International Space Station after 2019, when the US is expected to be able to do so using its own piloted spacecraft. Bridenstine’s secretary said that “the use of Soyuzes after 2019 is still under consideration”.
On Thursday, Rogozin told RBC in an interview that he is willing to welcome Bridenstine during his next trip to Russia, despite the fact that Rogozin’s own visit to the US was canceled. According to the director of the Russian state space corporation, the two space program directors need to discuss their future collaboration. He also added that Roscosmos had invited “potential commercial clients from the US” because they can no longer meet with them in Washington. Rogozin also claimed to have received requests from NASA to continue to use Soyuz rockets for their astronauts’ flights.
Bridenstine previously told The Washington Post in an interview that he had decided to cancel Rogozin’s visit to the US due to the position of US senators. Roscosmos commented that it had not yet received any official notice from NASA, and had learned about the cancellation only through media reports.
In October, Bridenstine told TASS in an interview that he would like Rogozin to talk at the Rice University in Houston during his visit to the US. The head of NASA also said that the Trump administration had decided to temporarily lift the sanctions on Rogozin to enable him to visit NASA as planned. Since 2014, Rogozin has been under US sanctions in connection with the situation in Ukraine.