It is July 17, 1975. US President Gerald Ford has been in office less than a year after taking over from the embattled Richard Nixon. The USSR, led by general secretary Leonid Breshev is in a period of somewhat thawing relations with the US.
About 220km above Earth, three American astronauts in an Apollo capsule, and two Russian cosmonauts in a Soyuz capsule dock together, in a joint US-USSR space mission. In the middle of the Cold War.
Called the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the two countries, who just years before were in a race to the Moon and dominance in space, carried out a mission of cooperation.
In order to pull off the mission, scientists and engineers from the two countries had to work closely together, sharing what was just a few years prior, top-secret information and technology. To dock two capsules in space, every single detail of how they worked needed to be shared, or the mission would likely end in disaster.
We often think of the space race between the US and USSR as one of great competition - which it was - and conflict. The reality was there was a lot of cooperation - both on Earth and in space. Historians point to this as being one of the ways dialogue, and avenues for cooler heads, could happen between the two superpowers on Earth.
Space was a way of uniting us as one - Earthlings. Space was bigger than us.
This peace and cooperation continued into the 1990s and 2000's, with joint missions between the US Space Shuttle and the USSR Russian Mir space station. The two countries even led the building of the biggest, most complex piece of space equipment - the International Space Station.
However, as the war in Ukraine slowly erodes the fabric of civility, peace and security, it is all the more unravelling in space.
Shortly after the first US and European sanctions were applied, the head of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, warned the sanctions were putting the Space Station at risk, and it could fall out of orbit, crashing to Earth.
That won't happen, but the it seems cooperation won't, either. Russia has pulled out of cooperation with European programs. They are no longer working together on joint missions launching from Europe's space port in French Guiana, recently flying 85 Russians who were working there back to Moscow. All future mission are no longer happening, or at the very least, in doubt.
ExoMars, a joint European-Russian Mars rover is scheduled to launch in September. Due to the orbits of Earth and Mars, launch to Mars happens every 25 to 26 months. If they miss this upcoming window, it will have to wait until late 2024 or early 2025. The mission is already delayed as it was originally scheduled for July 2020, but COVID lockdowns prevented the final work from taking place. Joint experiments with Germany on the Space Station have been stopped by Russia. This follows the shutting down of the German-Russian-built eRosita X-ray space telescope.
Russia has stopped servicing or supplying any rocket engines to US companies. Russia will also stop flying American astronauts and will likely no longer go on planned NASA-SpaceX missions.
OneWebb, a company aiming to build a network of satellites for global internet, like SpaceX's Starlink, was scheduled to launch Saturday on a Russian rocket.
However, three days before launch, Roscosmos gave an ultimatum - they would only launch if they could guarantee it would not be used for any military purposes nor be funded by anyone in the UK due to Britain's "hostile stance against Russia". Of course, OneWebb is funded from the UK.
The term "military purposes" isn't as clear as it may seem. The satellite images we have been seeing of the devastation in the Ukraine are mostly coming from Maxar, a private US-based company.
They are not the military; anyone can use them. They have been used to track people smugglers and support disaster recovery. We even used the exact same satellites to do our Satellite Selfie in 2020 - people and school kids creating their own signs and messages from space. It is like someone being called a government official because they drive on government-built roads.
Russia has mentioned it will be heavily focusing on building more satellites, as it is cut-off from data access to US and European satellites.
Even on Twitter, Roscomos has been promoting a new ICMB that will "guarantee the security of Russia for decades to come".
The current crisis in Ukraine as it pertains to space is not like the 60s or 70s. We appear to be headed for much worse.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.