200th Anniversary of U.S.-Russia Diplomatic Relations (1807-2007) US Department of State
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Partnerships: U.S. - Russia Space Cooperation

Bicentennial Partnerships reflect American and Russian cooperation in a range of areas as part of the U.S. Embassy Moscow's commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of U.S. - Russia Diplomatic Relations.

The Space Race: From Competitors to Partners

The Space Race, initiated by the 1957 USSR satellite Sputnik launch, proved to be more than just another competition - it triggered an explosion of interest in the heavens and those brave enough to go there. People everywhere followed the launching and retrieval of space capsules sent on increasingly complex missions and, whether cosmonaut or astronaut, the accomplishments of Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn and others were celebrated.

Following the 1969 Apollo 11 walk on the moon - an achievement claimed for all mankind - what began as competition became cooperation. With its Soyuuz program, the Soviet Union established an orbital space station capability. In 1975, the first international "handshake in space" occurred when Apollo and Soyuz spacecrafts docked - and history was made.

In 1972, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes. This agreement expanded cooperation in the areas of space science, earth science, satellite-based search and rescue and human space flight. Following the U.S. Space Shuttle-Russian Mir Space Station collaborations, the two nations joined with 14 other countries to assemble the International Space Station, where at least two persons have lived on-board since 2000.

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project The first docking in space between spacecraft from two different countries took place in 1975, when the crews of the U.S. Apollo spacecraft and the Soviet Soyuz opened the hatches between their vehicles for the historic "handshake in space" during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

The International Space Station The International Space Station (ISS) is a multinational effort with participation by the U.S., Russia, Japan, Canada, the European Space Agency (including 11 member nations) and Brazil. Permanent human presence began on November 1, 2000 with a crew of three. Russia's contributions to the ISS are significant and include: the Zvezda Service Module containing living quarters for the crew; regularly launched Progress resupply spacecraft; and Soyuz crew vehicles, launched twice-yearly, one of which remains docked to the ISS as a crew return vehicle.

U.S.-Russian Joint Working Group on Space Biomedicine Since 1971, this working group has organized 31 experiments on 13 different space flights on Russian and American spacecraft. U.S.-Russian Joint Working Group on Space Biomedicine Since 1971, this working group has organized 31 experiments on 13 different space flights on Russian and American spacecraft. Current plans include joint pre- and post-flight experiments on biosystems, which will be present on board of the Foton M3 satellite mission to be launched in September 2007. The aim of these experiments is measuring the effects of weightless environment and cosmic radiation on lizards, water lizards, snails and bacteria.

GPS-GLONASS and COSPAS-SARSAT Working Groups The U.S. and Russia set up these two working groups in order to foster cooperation in the sphere of radio-satellite global navigation and search and rescue operations. Currently, they are working on an agreement to provide for interoperability of the respective global positioning satellite navigation systems.

GEOSS Group on Earth Observations is an international body organized to coordinate the study of the planetary environment. Russia and the U.S. are two of the main contributors, and the U.S. has invited Russia to take part in GEONetCast, the innovative proposal to link all satellite observation systems by the Internet in the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). GEOSS data would be distributed to all nations on a free basis.

Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) assists crew mate and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov while training in the Crew Systems Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Photo credit: NASA International Space Station Expedition 15
Launched in April 2007, Expedition 15 is busy at work inside the International Space Station. Follow their progress on the NASA Expeditions website


Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin. Photo Credit: NASA Getting Ready for Space: Final Checks for Mikhail Tyurin Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, Expedition 14 flight engineer representing Russia's Federal Space Agency, gets help with final touches on the training version of his Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuit prior to being submerged in the waters of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) near Johnson Space Center.