Russia has supported India in achieving many space milestones, and the robust partnership continues to thrive with India’s forthcoming manned mission to orbit. Russia will support India’s critical US$1.4 billion maiden human space flight program apart from technical support and training. An MoU was signed between ISRO and ROSCOSMOS on joint activities for the human spaceflight program at the 19th Bilateral Summit in 2018

Many countries are interested in flying their astronauts on Russia’s Soyuz, however, it is too premature to talk about any advancement in ongoing talks, ROSCOSMOS Human Space Flight Programs Executive Director Sergei Krikalev told Sputnik News.

"There is interest in participating in flights," Krikalev said. "In fact, the negotiations are ongoing with many countries. There have been talks with India, there were conversations with Mongolia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and others. Well, in short, all this is still a conversation at a preliminary level. That is, it is still too early to talk about some kind of advancement."

Krikalev shared that they were very pleasantly surprised at the time by the activity of the United Arab Emirates.

In July, Roscosmos and NASA signed an agreement on integrated flights of cosmonauts and astronauts to the ISS. As part of the agreement, the Soyuz-2.1a rocket with a Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft was launched from Baikonur to the ISS on September 21 carrying a crew including Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin as well as NASA astronaut Francisco Rubio.

The only female cosmonaut at ROSCOSMOS, Ann Kikina, is currently flying with the Crew-5 team to the ISS aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft named Endurance.

Krikalev also told Sputnik that during his current visit to the United States he has met with NASA Chief Bill Nelson and the two discussed directions for further collaboration as well as the need for stable technical cooperation.

During the meeting with Nelson they recalled that the Soyuz-Apollo began at the very height of the Cold War.

"[...] Unfortunately, sometimes politics and technology go together, sometimes they diverge a little bit," he said. "But we try to keep such a line of reasonable positive technical cooperation. I think that this will help, perhaps, to improve some political relations in the future. I hope."

Krikalev attended that launch of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission spacecraft carrying two NASA astronauts, one Japanese astronaut, and a Russian cosmonaut, earlier in the day. The vehicle successfully blasted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

Krikalev also revealed that the Russian cosmonauts are currently training in Houston and American astronauts are training in Star City in Russia.

Lunar Transport System Compatibility

Making lunar transportation systems of Russia and the United States compatible is expedient because that will allow the two countries to use each other’s capabilities during emergency situations, Krikalev outlined.

"We are creating our own transport system that will allow us to fly to the lunar orbit, maybe land on the moon in the future, but it is really expedient to make the systems compatible, because this will again allow us to organize some kind of rescue in emergency situations, to be able to help each other," Krikalev said. "And therefore, the possibility of using transport infrastructure to study space and the Moon and, so to speak, use each other's capabilities to provide assistance in emergency situations, it is actually expedient. We will continue to work in this direction."

Krikalev also reminded that in 2017, during a conference in Australia, it was officially announced that Russia was taking part in the Gateway project.

"Then, based on the results of technical studies on the Russian side - it was not an American initiative, but the Russian initiative - we stepped aside a little, so to speak, but until the last moment we say that interaction is possible and expedient," he said. "And, by the way, the Americans also emphasize this, because we are building our own transport system."

Russian cosmonauts will be able to set foot on the lunar surface by 2030, Russian space agency Roscosmos head Yuri Borisov said on Tuesday.