Russia: Sanctions hit food supply to space station

Space workers take delivery of fresh food supplies on board the International Space Station

Food for astronauts has fallen foul of sanctions and counter-sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, it appears.

Citing officials from the European Space Agency, The Moscow Times says that a Russian ban on imports of food from Europe means that some supplies being sent to astronauts working on the International Space Station (ISS) are banned from entering Russia. This means that "extras" - such as sweets and dried fruit - sent by families to supplement the otherwise routine fare served on the ISS, won't get through to the ESA astronauts on the space station.

Since food for some supply flights to the ISS comes through Russia on the way to the Moscow-controlled launch centre in Kazakhstan, they are subject to the same ban that is keeping popular French cheeses off the shelves in Russian supermarkets. The ban on foods from the EU was introduced in retaliation to sanctions targeted at Russia and its leaders over its role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and the annexing of Crimea into Russian territory.

However, all is not lost for Europe's space workers - supply launches from the US in Dragon and Cygnus capsules are not affected, which means most space food for ESA astronauts no longer needs to fly on the Russian Soyuz capsules which now supply the space station's cosmonauts.

After the demise of the US shuttle programme, Russia's Soyuz spacecraft are currently the main means of delivering supplies to the ISS. Its current crew consists of a German and two Americans, and as well as three Russians.

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