Norwegian Continues Training for Soyuz Flight to ISS & Spacewalk Amid Western Sanctions Over Ukraine; 18 Norwegians Advance in ESA Astronaut Selection

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A Norwegian industrial designer is continuing to train to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Roscosmos Soyuz spacecraft and perform a commercial spacewalk amid Western sanctions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Nima Shahinian has been training at Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City for a voyage to ISS at the end of next year. Shahinian — who is an industrial designer lead at Designit Oslo, a father of two and an Afghanistan veteran — is a client of the U.S. company Space Adventures.

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AIAA Condemns Russian Invasion of Ukraine

RESTON, Va., February 28, 2022 – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) issued the following statement from AIAA Executive Director Dan Dumbacher:

“As the world’s largest professional society for aerospace engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) condemns the Russian military’s recent invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign nation. AIAA is an international organization of nearly 30,000 members. The Institute represents members from both Ukraine and Russia, who make significant contributions to the aerospace profession. We are gravely concerned for the health and safety of our members, as well as for their livelihoods. We recognize the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies on Russia will have an impact on organizations and companies in the aerospace industry and its supply chain. We sincerely hope these measures will influence the Russian government to change its course.

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ESA Condemns Russia’s Ukraine Invasion, Says Joint ExoMars Launch “Very Unlikely” This Year

PARIS (ESA PR) — We deplore the human casualties and tragic consequences of the war in Ukraine. We are giving absolute priority to taking proper decisions, not only for the sake of our workforce involved in the programmes, but in full respect of our European values, which have always fundamentally shaped our approach to international cooperation.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation governed by its 22 Member States and we have built up a strong network of international cooperation over the past decades, which serves the European and global space community through its very successful programmes.

We are fully implementing sanctions imposed on Russia by our Member States. We are assessing the consequences on each of our ongoing programmes conducted in cooperation with the Russian state space agency Roscosmos and align our decisions to the decisions of our Member States in close coordination with industrial and international partners (in particular with NASA on the International Space Station).

Regarding the Soyuz launch campaign from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, we take note of the Roscosmos decision to withdraw its workforce from Kourou. We will consequently assess for each European institutional payload under our responsibility the appropriate launch service based notably on launch systems currently in operation and the upcoming Vega-C and Ariane 6 launchers.

Regarding the ExoMars programme continuation, the sanctions and the wider context make a launch in 2022 very unlikely. ESA’s Director General will analyse all the options and prepare a formal decision on the way forward by ESA Member States.

ESA continues to monitor the situation in close contact with its Members States.