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NASA focused on plan to return human spaceflight launches to 'American soil' by 2017

Digital writers

Thursday, April 3, 2014, 11:45 AM -

NASA is advancing efforts to launch astronauts from U.S. soil by 2017.

This news comes after an announcement made Wednesday night regarding suspension of some NASA activities with Russian Government representatives.

"Given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, NASA is suspending the majority of its ongoing engagements with the Russian Federation," the statement read. "NASA and Roscosmos will, however, continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station."

Operations aboard the ISS has been a "cornerstone of peace" between the U.S. and Russia.

Late last month three astronauts, including two Russians and one American, launched into space on a Russian rocket that was headed for the ISS.

As it stands now, NASA depends on Russia to bring its astronauts to and from the station. NASA however, is working to break out of that dependency.

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"NASA is laser-focused on a plan to return human spaceflight launches to American soil, and end our reliance on Russia to get into space," Wednesday night's statement read. "This has been a top priority of the Obama Administration's for the past five years, and had our plan been fully funded, we would have returned American human spaceflight launches—and the jobs they support—back to the United States next year."

The statement adds that with a reduced level of approved funding, NASA is now looking at "launching from U.S. soil in 2017."

"The choice here is between fully funding the plan to bring space launches back to America or continuing to send millions of dollars to the Russians. It’s that simple. The Obama Administration chooses to invest in America – and we are hopeful that Congress will do the same," the statement concludes.

Flight Engineer Steve Swanson smiles as he checks out the International Space Station's cupola. Image Credit: NASA

Flight Engineer Steve Swanson smiles as he checks out the International Space Station's cupola. Image Credit: NASA

Thumbnail courtesy: NASA

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