NASA chief Charles Bolden has told reporters in Berlin the International Space Station (ISS) can continue functioning without Russia.
Bolden was responding to recent comments made by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on May 13 that Russia does not intend to use the ISS after 2020 and the American segment of the ISS could cannot exist without the Russian segment.
Bolden said May 19, even if Russia withdrew from the ISS, no participating nation "is indispensable on the International Space Station."
Bolden pointed out the ISS is jointly run by the United States, Russia, Japan, Europe, And Canada and that NASA expects private companies to start transporting astronauts to the station by 2017.
Amid tensions between Moscow and Washington over the Ukraine crisis,
Rogozin said Russia was concerned about continuing high-tech projects with "an unreliable partner" that is "politicizing everything."
Based on reporting by AP and ABC News