NASA says Russia is still moving towards extending the space station by 2030

Despite the deteriorating relationship between the United States and Russia here on Earth, Russia is still considering extending its involvement in the International Space Station until 2030, according to NASA. However, it could be a few months before there is a solid update on Russia’s official stance.

NASA and Russia’s state space company Roskosmos were the two largest partners on the International Space Station for the past three decades. The two organizations have agreed to work together on the ISS until 2024, but late last year the Biden administration announced its intention to extend the space station program to 2030. Russia has not yet officially agreed to the extension.

Roscosmos’ participation in extra time seemed unlikely after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. In response to the war, the United States sanctioned Russia’s key industries, sparking outrage from Roskosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin. On twitter, Rogozin made wild threats about the future of the ISS, implying that the station in the United States could collapse if Russia pulls out of the program early. He also indicated that Review of the partnership with the USA given the sanctions.

But even after all the bluster, Roscosmos apparently haven’t given a harsh ‘no’ to extra time and may even go ahead with it. “All of our international partners, including Roscosmos, are making progress toward station expansion by 2030,” Kathy Lueders, NASA’s assistant administrator for space operations, said during a news conference today, adding that every partner on the ISS has to go through a budget process and receive final government approval before the extension is determined. “But we all understand the importance of this continued partnership, even in really, really, really difficult times,” Lüders said.

Joel Montalbano, NASA ISS program manager, discussed the potential extension in Russia with Roscosmos officials as NASA prepared for the return of astronaut Mark Vande Hei on a Russian Soyuz rocket this week. “At the program level, we continue discussions and continue to work towards 2030,” Dana Weigel, deputy director of NASA’s International Space Station program, said during the press conference. “They raised the issue of when Joel Montalbano was in Russia and no changes to the plan at all.”

Weigel noted that NASA expects to receive its next major update on expansion plans in late April or early May. It is difficult to say what state relations between Russia and the United States will be in by this point, but at the moment there is a possibility that the countries’ partnership in space could continue. NASA says Russia is still moving towards extending the space station by 2030

Fry Electronics Team

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