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Michael O’Brien: NASA Suspends Relations with Russia

army stock photoNASA has moved to sever connections with the Russian space agency as the Kremlin tightens its grip over the sovereign republic of Crimea, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Kenneth Chang and Peter Baker write that Michael O’Brien, NASA associate administrator for international and interagency relations, has told agency officials Russian envoys are being prohibited from visiting NASA sites as well as meeting and communicating with agency officials under the suspension.

The Obama administration previously halted trade discussions and military ties with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, according to the report.

The White House has decided to hold off on programs to send NASA officials to Russia and host Russian space agency officials in the U.S. as the spat with Moscow escalates, the report says.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also ordered a review of Russian-built rocket engines that are used to launch U.S. military satellites into space, the Times reports.

Chang and Baker write that NASA’s relations with Russia covering the operations of the International Space Station are exempted from the suspension order.

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