Facing criticism from Senators in the US, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has rescinded the invitation to the Russian space agency head Dmitry Rogozin, The Washington Post reported.
“We had heard from numerous Senators suggesting that this was not a good idea. And I wanted to be accommodating to the interests of the Senators, and so I have rescinded the invitation”, Bridenstine said in an interview with the Post.
Rogozin’s visit to the US was initially scheduled for February.
Bridenstine’s statement comes after Senator Jeanne Shaheen urged NASA on January 2 to withdraw the invitation to Rogozin because he had been sanctioned by the US government over the Ukraine crisis, Sputnik news agency reported.
Bridenstine previously said that NASA was working on obtaining a sanctions waiver for Rogozin, who has been subject to US restrictions since 2014 for supporting Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
NASA’s press secretary told Sputnik late on January 4 that the planned visit of Rogozin to the United States, initially would be postponed and a new date would be set later.
Earlier the same day, a space industry source told Sputnik that the visit could be cancelled.
But Roscosmos has not yet received any official confirmation from NASA about the cancellation of Rogozin’s visit to the US, an official spokesperson for the corporation told Sputnik.
“We cannot make any official statement yet because NASA has not yet notified Roscosmos that the invitation has indeed been recalled”, the spokesperson said.