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How astronauts survive diplomatic tensions in space

Published on Mar 22, 2014 2:03 PM
 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - While the United States and Russia traded sanctions this week in a burgeoning crisis over Crimea, astronauts from both nations rose above the discord in their sanctuary hundreds of miles from Earth.

Experts say mounting political and economic tensions between the old Cold War foes are unlikely to upset cooperation in space at the moment - something which would be damaging to both sides.

Not that talking politics is taboo aboard the International Space Station (ISS), where Americans and Russians share close quarters, orbiting at an altitude of 400km over the Earth.

"We could talk about anything. We'd talk about politics," said retired US astronaut Leroy Chiao, who commanded the ISS for six months in 2004 and 2005.

 
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