Aviation Week reports that "NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos have agreed to set up an 'expert-level group' to review exploration targets for joint cooperation, provided the two sides in the bilateral discussion can agree on where to go."
Vladimir Popovkin, the new Roscosmos head, told the 62nd International Astronautical Congress that the talks could lead to a deal for sharing the expense of exploration beyond low Earth orbit. Deep-space exploration is “unthinkable without broader international cooperation,” Popovkin said through an interpreter.
Later, in an interview with Aviation Week, the new space chief said Russia plans to use the new cosmodrome at Vostochny for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit, while the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan will continue to be the starting point for Russian missions to the International Space Station (ISS).
Click here to visit the English language version of the Roscosmos web site. Is there a Russian version of the NASA web site?
Recent false rumors claimed Russia intended to deorbit the ISS in 2020. Popovkin told Aviation Week that Roscomos is studying how to operate the ISS unilaterally should the U.S. drop out in 2020.
“Our plan is to continue to develop capabilities for the Russian segment of the ISS so it would be used autonomously in case we did not come to agreement with our partners about the further prolongation of ISS use,” he said. “From our point of view, this station will be used for experimentation with new technologies for beyond-Earth exploration, and secondly it could be used like an assembly point for different modules for a spaceship for our travels.”