NASA chief Bill Nelson denied reports that Russia might pull out of the International Space Station in response to Western sanctions.
Nelson said Monday there is no reason to believe that Russia might pull out of its commitments in space, calling recent reports "misleading" during a budget hearing with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.
"They are not pulling out," Nelson said. "In the last day or so, there are misleading headlines. If you read the articles, it says something else of comments that were made by people in Roscosmos, the Russian space agency."
RUSSIAN COSMONAUTS 'BLINDSIDED' BY CONTROVERSY OVER YELLOW SPACESUITS, SAYS US ASTRONAUT
On Saturday, the head of Roscosmos, General Director Dmitry Rogozin, reportedly said that Russia has already decided to pull out of the ISS.
"In accordance with our obligations, we’ll inform our partners about the end of our work on the ISS with a year’s notice," Rogozin said in an interview with Russian state media on Saturday, according to Bloomberg.
Nelson pointed out other times of heightened tension, including the Cold War, to showcase how international space efforts continued despite international conflict.
"I want you to think about this issue in a historical context, in the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, a Soviet spacecraft and an American spacecraft rendezvoused and docked in space, and the crews lived together and worked together in space," Nelson said. "That cooperation in civil space has continued to this day."
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
Nelson went on to clarify that despite tensions amid the invasion, he has not seen changes to Russia's commitments in space.
"Together, we built the International Space Station. Theoretically, you can't operate the space station without both. The Russians had the propulsion, the attitude control. The U.S. has the electricity production," Nelson said. "I see nothing that has interrupted that professional relationship, no matter how awful Putin is conducting a war with such disastrous results in Ukraine."