NASA and Roskosmos are planning joint flights

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NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos have signed an agreement on joint flights to the International Space Station, the agencies announced.

This will allow Russian cosmonauts to fly in American-made spacecraft in exchange for American astronauts being able to ride in the Russian Soyuz, the two agencies said, Reuters reported.

The agreement is in the interests of Russia and the US and will promote the development of cooperation within the ISS (International Space Station) program, Roscosmos said, adding that the program will also facilitate space exploration for peaceful purposes.

The first joint flights under the new agreement will be carried out in September, NASA announced, and American astronaut Frank Rubio will launch to the space station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, which is leased by Moscow, along with two cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin.

At the same time, cosmonaut Anna Kikina will join two American astronauts and one Japanese astronaut on a SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to the orbiting laboratory from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.