What is the future of space diplomacy between the U.S. and Russia?

New York Times’s article provides a reminder of space diplomacy as one of the fields that survived all recent tensions between the U.S. and Russia.

For two decades, the space station has been a symbol of diplomatic triumph between the U.S. and Russia, typically insulated from tensions on Earth. Russian astronauts traveled to orbit on the space shuttle, and when it stopped flying, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft became NASA’s only ride to orbit for nearly a decade. The station also requires the two space powers’ cooperation to function: The Russian segment depends on electricity generated by American solar panels, while the station as a whole depends on Russian equipment to control its orbit.

The future of this cooperation is uncertain due to both political tensions and new developments in space exploration with arrival of private companies such as Space-X.