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In tit-for-tat move, Russia denies visa to NASA envoy
by AFP Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Feb 17, 2021

Moscow on Wednesday said it had refused a visa for a new representative in Russia for the US space agency NASA, accusing Washington of blocking Russian visa applications to the United States.

"It was a retaliatory measure," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

Citing sources in the space sector, RIA Novosti reported that Russia in January denied the visa to a NASA member who was set to head the agency's office at the US embassy in Moscow.

The sources did not name the NASA employee in question.

Russia has for months complained that American authorities have blocked visas to its diplomats, or issued them slowly.

Tensions between Moscow and Washington have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War following allegations of hacking and election interference.

But space has remained one of the few areas of cooperation between the two countries, dating back to the Soviet era.

While Ryabkov admitted that NASA was not at fault for Russia's visa difficulties, he said that "this has often taken place" with other US agencies and called for the lifting of these "artificial obstacles" in US-Russia relations.

Although Moscow and Washington recently extended a landmark nuclear accord, the New START treaty, a number of disagreements remain between the former Cold War rivals.

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The Planetary Society Presents NASA Recommendations to the Biden-Harris Administration
Pasadena CA (SPX) Feb 11, 2021
The Planetary Society, the world's largest independent space interest organization, released a paper outlining 5 recommendations for how the Biden administration can use NASA to support science, grow the nation's economy, and protect the planet. The recommendations are to: + Deepen our commitment to NASA's science programs + Continue human spaceflight on the path from the Moon to Mars + Take active steps to protect the planet from dangerous asteroids and comets + Use NASA a ... read more

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