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War in Ukraine: why Thomas Pesquet is increasingly concerned

SPACE – “Today we can clearly see that people find it difficult to work together,” stated Thomas Pesquet deplores the impact of the war in Ukraine on space cooperation with Russia.

“We can clearly see that we are not committed to the collaboration of tomorrow and unfortunately in the space sector projects are being developed in five, ten, 15 years, so the ramifications of what is happening today will be visible in a few years. year; they won’t be positive, that’s for sure,” the European Space Agency astronaut lamented.

On March 17, the European Space Agency (ESA) took action the suspension of the Russian-European mission ExoMars and the search for alternatives to launch four other missions after the end of cooperation with the Russian space agency Roscosmos because of the war in Ukraine.

“It’s a shame, because it’s been 25 years since we created bonds between people who were sometimes opposites and we managed to do things together,” the astronaut laments, back from his second mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) last November.

Tensions in the ISS?

The space station has long been spared international tensions. And as the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos has already threatened to end all cooperation on the ISS, the French astronaut tempers: “We will of course continue to work on the ISS, there are people on board, it is not our intention to endanger them. We have agreements, obligations that technically bind us, we cannot disconnect the different parts of the station, it is not a reasonable scenario.

It is also impossible to erase human ties to the Russian cosmonauts, Thomas Pesquet assures.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in Russia, I have people I happen to have on the phone, they’re not necessarily happy with the situation, that’s an understatement,” he says. “But unfortunately, since I went to Russia very regularly, I’m not sure if I will go there in the near future.”

Russia turns its back on NASA

Roscosmos already said thatshe would not participate in the American project to return to the moonin which the European, Canadian and Japanese agencies participate.

“This trend has been going on for a few years, of course exacerbated by this Russian attack on Ukraine,” confirms Thomas Pesquet.

However, the astronaut recalls: “The important thing is not cooperation in space, but that no people are killed on Earth.”

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