BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan, March 28 (UPI) -- Russian state media reported Roscosmos, the country's space agency, would work on a new space station in cooperation with NASA, but NASA is looking to Mars.
The agency announced its intentions over the weekend. According to officials, Russia will cooperate with NASA on the construction of a brand new space station.
"We have agreed that Roscosmos and NASA will be working together on the program of a future space station," Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov told reporters during a news conference on Saturday -- as reported by Russian news agency TASS.
"We agreed that the group of countries taking part in the ISS project will work on the future project of a new orbital station," Komarov added, according to state-funded Russia Today.
The project is meant to be completed in time to take over for the current International Space Station, which is to be retired in 2024. But Komarov said use of the ISS could be prolonged or shortened, depending on the progress of the newly announced building project.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told reporters the United States would like to place less emphasis on low-orbit missions. He said NASA is focused on joint missions to the Moon and Mars.
"Our area of cooperation will be Mars," Bolden said. "We are discussing how best to use the resources, the finance, we are setting time frames and distributing efforts in order to avoid duplication."
The original news was broken during talks at Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The story quickly made headlines as a remarkable symbol of scientific cooperation, even as the the two countries' diplomatic relationship grows increasingly strained.
But a late-in-the-day tweet by Russian deputy prime minister Dimitry Rogozin seemed to undermine the headlines. "The Russian government will study the results of the talks between Roscosmos and NASA," he wrote on Twitter. "The decisions will be taken later."
On Friday, a crew of two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut blasted off from Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz rocket. On Saturday, they arrived safely at the International Space Station.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko remain aboard ISS for 12 months -- the longest space mission in several decades.