Russia ridiculed after Moscows threat to abandon US astronaut in space laughed off

Russia's ISS threat discussed by Terry Virts

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Russian “threats” towards US astronaut Mark Vande have been dismissed by a former International Space Station Commander. Terry Virts has laughed off threats from the head of  Russia’s space programme to leave the American astronaut on the orbiting International Space Station.

Mr Virts told Fox News: “The man who’s been making those threats Dimitri Rogozin is very prone to making bombastic threats.

“When I was flying on the space station during the first round of their invasion back in 2014 he said that we could take a trampoline to get to the station when we sanctioned him.

“So I don’t think he’s actually directly threatening to leave our astronaut there and if they did, he can just come back on a SpaceX so there’s no immediate danger for Mark Vandehei.”

He added: “Almost a decade we went without the ability to launch people from America and Russia was a good partner they took us to in front of station on their soyuzs.

“But a couple of years ago, SpaceX started their capability.

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So there’s actually a launch in a few weeks, that would time well with bringing Mark back. There’s no plan to do that, for now, the plan is to bring them back on the soyuz and I think this is just bluster.”

He continued: “They posted a very creepy video showing them leaving marking space and the Russian segment separating from the space station. I’m not sure there’s been a lot of very unprofessionalism from Dimitri Rogozin to say the least.

“But I know that on the ground level, the crew and space is working well together. NASA is still working well they’re trying to keep the war away from the space station as much as possible.”

A video was shared on the Nasa Watch Twitter account reportedly from Roscosmos, the Russian space programme.


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In the video, two Russian cosmonauts appear to wave goodbye to Mr Vande Hei as Russia’s section of the space station decouples from the orbiting platform.

The fictional production which was posted on Telegram has been viewed as a thinly veiled threat in response to US sanctions on Russia.

Nasa Watch shared the clip with the caption: “Russian gov’t-controlled RIA Novosti @rianru posted a video on Telegram made by @Roscosmos where cosmonauts say goodbye to Mark Vande Hei on #ISS, depart, and then the Russian segment detaches from the rest of ISS.”

It added: “@Rogozin is clearly threatening the ISS program. #NASA #Ukraine”

It comes as SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk has challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to “single combat”, with the “stakes” being Ukraine.

With Mr Putin’s name written in Russian and Ukraine written in Ukrainian, the Tesla chief executive tweeted: “I hereby challenge (Vladimir Putin) to single combat.

“Stakes are (Ukraine).”

Mr Musk tagged the Kremlin in a follow-up tweet.

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