Russia has confirmed that it will withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS), perhaps as early as two years from now, because of the sanctions imposed on it following the invasion of Ukraine, according to news reports.
“The decision has been made, we have no obligation to talk about it publicly,” Dmitry Rogozin, director general of the federal Roscosmos space agency, told the Rossiya-24-owned TV channel. state on Saturday (April 30), according to the independent Russian news agency TASS.
Rogozin did not say when Russia’s involvement in the ISS project would end, although he insisted he would give at least a year’s notice “in line with our obligations.”
Russian space analysts have noted that Russia never agreed to expand its participation in the ISS beyond 2024; US space agency NASA and other international partners now want the project to last until at least 2030.
Rogozin, an experienced politician with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has a history of making bland statements.
He posted on Twitter on February 24 – the day after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine – that any international sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine would “destroy” the partnership. between NASA and Roscosmos to keep the space station running and aloft.
And he reaffirmed those comments last month, tweeting that normal relations between the ISS partners can only be restored after the “complete and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions.” legal.”
Related: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could affect international science
The first modules of the International Space Station were put into orbit in 1998, and are expected to last only 15 years.
The space station’s mission has since expanded, although maintenance problems – especially in the Russian half of the space station – have increased in recent years; and experts have warned that some ISS modules are becoming obsolete, NBC News reported.
The United States and Russia are the main partners on the ISS project, which was initiated after they collaborated on the final stages of the Mir space station in the 1990s, according to NASA.
Historically, the US has mainly been responsible for providing life support to 10 people living on the ISS at a time, and Russia has been mainly responsible for keeping the ISS in orbit, with frequent explosions from the Soyuz spacecraft’s engines. spaceship docked there.
Russia also controlled access to the ISS for several years as only its Soyuz flew there after the US Space Shuttle ended service in 2011; but the birth of the new passenger spacecraft like the SpaceX Dragon which means it is no longer the case.
Space experts also note that NASA is currently testing its ability to keep the ISS in orbit with explosions from its engines. Cygnus . cargo spacecraftproduced and launched by the US aerospace company Northrop Grumman – which means that Russia may no longer need the involvement of the ISS.
Sanctions and space
Rogozin’s latest comments seem to imply that Russia may soon make an announcement and start withdrawing from the ISS project.
But activities on the space station have been relatively normal since he made his initial comments, including the arrival of three Russian cosmonauts in mid-March, sister site Live Science Space.com reported.
TASS also reported the comments Rogozin made a day before his TV interview, which seems to suggest that any decision on the fate of the ISS project is far from final. together.
He told the news agency in an interview on Friday, April 29.
He also said that Roscosmos’ proposals for cooperation in the ISS project after 2024 have been sent to the Russian government and President Putin.
And in another story on TASS on the same day, Rogozin said that Russia will begin testing “single-orbit” flights to the ISS using the Soyuz spacecraft in 2023 and 2024 – a trip that usually requires a spacecraft. make at least four Earth orbits. .
That schedule doesn’t seem to align with assertions that Russia’s participation in the ISS project is imminent.
According to Space.com, Russia has advanced plans to build a space station to succeed the ISS.
The first module, built by the Energia consortium, will cost at least $5 billion and could go into orbit as early as 2025.
Originally published on Live Science.
https://www.livescience.com/russia-to-leave-international-space-station-chief-says Russia will pull out of the International Space Station, space agency chief confirms