TECH
14/05/2014 09:07 BST | Updated 14/05/2014 09:59 BST

Russia 'To Bar US From International Space Station'

The diplomatic furore surrounding the Ukraine crisis has gone galactic.

Russia has announced that from 2020 American astronauts will not be allowed on the International Space Station (ISS).

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said: "We are very concerned about continuing to develop high-tech projects with such an unreliable partner as the United States, which politicises everything.

"These sanctions are out of place and inappropriate. We have enough of our own problems."

Unfortunately for the US this can be achieved pretty easily - Nasa currently relies on Russian rockets to ferry its astronauts into space at a cost of £41.5m a pop.

To throw the future of the space station in to even further doubt, Rogozin claimed Russia would reject a request prolong its use beyond 2020.

America had previously expressed a desire to use the ISS until 2024.

America could be saved by private space firms, who are developing manned space capsules to take its astronauts to space.

Elon Musk's SpaceX already delivers supplies to the ISS and a number of companies hope to be able to ferry astronauts by the 2020 deadline.

Rogozin seems to think this won't help, claiming: "The Russian segment can exist independently from the American one. The US one cannot."

This might not be strictly true - the solar panels that power the station are on the American side.

There are currently two US astronauts and three Russian cosmonauts aboard the ISS but they will not be affected by the announcement.

Nasa was forced to adopt the position of relying on Russian transport to the ISS after government cuts to the US space program.