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NASA: We don't need Russia to keep space station operational

Getty Images/NASA

It looks like Russia didn't read the International Space Station's handbook. The country loudly claimed last week that it was going to defund the ISS come 2020 and prohibit the United States from using it in retaliation for sanctions the U.S. imposed over the crisis in Ukraine. NASA, however, dismissed those claims today.

NASA said that since the ISS is a project run jointly by the U.S., Russia, Japan, Europe, and Canada, no single partner can shutter the station. Administrator Charles Bolden told reporters in Berlin that even if Russia withdrew funding from the ISS, no nation "is indispensable on the International Space Station."

He said that private companies will also begin transporting astronauts to the ISS within three years, thus negating Russia's threats that it will stop transporting U.S. astronauts to the station in 2020.