American and Russian astronauts will once share space aboard the same spacecraft after NASA and its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos, reached a ride-sharing agreement Friday following months of back-and-forth discussions.
Two seats on two separate launches of Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft have been reserved for NASA astronauts, with the first slated to take off from Russia’s Cosmodrome launch site in Kazakhstan this September. And Russian cosmonauts will join at least two future SpaceX mission to the International Space Station, marking the first time a Russian has boarded one of SpaceX’s relatively new Crew Dragon spacecraft.
NASA assigned astronaut Frank Rubio to the Soyuz mission in September, and astronaut Loral O’Hara will join a later Soyuz flight. Roscosmos is putting cosmonaut Anna Kikina on SpaceX’s September flight, and Andrei Fedyaev will fly on another SpaceX mission in the spring of 2023, according to NASA.
NASA and Roscosmos both confirmed the agreement Friday.
The seat-swap agreement, which does not involve any exchange of payment between the countries, has been looming over NASA and Roscosmos for months amid rising tensions between the United States and Russia over the war in Ukraine.