From left: U.S. astronaut Steve Swanson, and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev prior to the launch of their Soyuz-FG rocket Wednesday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Dmitry Lovetsky/AP hide caption

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Russian personnel are the first to meet space station crew members when they return to earth. Bill Ingalls/NASA hide caption

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The Two-Way

Despite Diplomatic Tensions, U.S.-Russia Space Ties Persist

NASA needs Russian rockets to reach the International Space Station, and Russia needs NASA's money to help finance operations.

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NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy performs a spacewalk in May to inspect and replace a pump controller box on the International Space Station. On Saturday, two astronauts will perform the first in a series of similar spacewalks to fix a broken cooling line on the ISS. AP hide caption

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Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield strums his guitar, a Larrivee Parlor, on the International Space Station in December. NASA hide caption

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