STORY: "It's not going to be easy or cheap to replace all the Russian capability with American capability in only two years. But I do think it's possible. I think it's something we should have been doing from the moment they crossed the border into Ukraine," said Reisman who is a professor of astronautical engineering at the University of Southern California.
While heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia's invasion of Ukraine have raised months of doubt about future American-Russian space cooperation, the announcement by Yuri Borisov, the newly appointed director-general of Russia's space agency Roscosmos, came as a surprise.
The two former Cold War adversaries signed a crew exchange agreement less than two weeks ago allowing U.S. astronauts and Russian cosmonauts to share flights on each other's spacecraft to and from the International Space Station (ISS) in the future.
"I do think we should take it seriously. In the past, there's been a lot of bluster and a lot of threats. But the previous head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, liked to do that," Reisman said, "but this is different. This is a new leader. It was after a direct consultation with Putin. And so I do think that this carries a little bit more weight."
Former Russian space chief Rogozin had previously said that Russia could not agree to extend its ISS role beyond 2024 unless the United States lifts sanctions on two Russian companies blacklisted for suspected military ties. Putin removed Rogozin as space chief on July 15, replacing him with Borisov, a former deputy prime minister and deputy defense minister.