TEHRAN – Tehran intends to ask Russia for help to have Iranian astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS).
The information was published by the Mehr news agency, citing a statement by Iranian Space Agency chief Morteza Barari.
“To send an astronaut [to the ISS], we must start negotiations with Russia. There are many explorers from many countries in the ISS. We are also prepared to study the possibility of sending an astronaut to the space station in cooperation with other nations, for example Russia,” said Barari.
Iranian Minister of Information and Communication Technologies, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, said in this regard that Iran intends to send an astronaut into space, underscoring the need for foreign aid to implement the plan.
Iran has been developing space rockets and satellites for over a decade, sending the first satellite into space in 2009. Over the next few years, Iran’s space program has made headway despite the Iranian Space Agency’s modest budge.
The US, as a major partner of the International Space Station (ISS), will not allow an Iranian astronaut to fly aboard a Soyuz spacecraft, an expert said.
However, the director of the Russian Space Policy Institute, Ivan Moiseev, believes that the United States will not let an Iranian astronaut fly to ISS, and suggests sending an independently organized astronaut by Russia without coupling to International Space Station is possible.
“At first, if we simply decided to go for a ride on a Soyuz without ERA coupling, there would be no formal complaints to Russia. But such a flight would cost Iran dearly. A flight to ERA [with an Iranian astronaut] is virtually excluded. At the stage from just talks on this, the American side will warn of the inadmissibility of the flight. Trump will not allow it,” said Moiseev.
Previously, Roscosmos and the Saudi Arabian Space Agency signed an agreement in the context of the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the possibility of launching a Saudi astronaut to the ISS.
In addition to Saudi Arabia, Roscosmos is negotiating with other countries in the Arab world. A UAE astronaut, Hazza Al Mansoori, recently traveled to the ISS on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Following the short expedition, it is planned to discuss the possibility of a long space flight from the UAE astronaut. Negotiations on a space flight with Bahrain and Turkey are also ongoing.