Russia Says It Will Abandon International Space Station Amid Ukraine War

This was announced by Russia on Tuesday it will withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024, signaling the end a joint project that has served as a key symbol of post-Cold War cooperation with Washington.

The move comes as Moscow and the West clash over the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine, raising new doubts about the future of global space cooperation. Russia has indicated that it sees its future primarily in working with China’s space program rather than NASA, its main partner for the past 25 years.

The head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos told President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that the country will abandon the ISS and focus on building its own space station, state media said.

“The decision to withdraw from this station after 2024 has been made,” said newly appointed Roscosmos boss Yuri Borissov, according to the TASS news agency.

Construction of the outpost in low Earth orbit began in 1998 and was completed in 2011. He was hailed as an example of reconciliation between longtime adversaries, but has now felt the effects of another earthly confrontation.

This agreement on the aging space station expires in 2024. And Russian officials have previously indicated they would let the agreement expire in order to work on their own Russian orbital station, which they hope will be operational in 2025.

On Tuesday, Borissov, who was appointed director of Russia’s space agency this month, confirmed to Putin that he intends to do just that. According to Tass, Borisov said that Russia will fulfill its obligations to its partners before leaving.

He said Roscosmos’ main goal should be to “raise the bar” and provide the country with “necessary space services” such as global navigation, communications and meteorological data. The space industry “is in a difficult situation,” Tass quoted him as saying.

The announcement comes as the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine threatens to disrupt everything from Europe’s energy supply to global food supplies.

Despite the rift, NASA and Roscosmos agreed this month that astronauts will continue to ride Russian rockets and that Russian cosmonauts will be able to take elevators to the space station with SpaceX starting in the fall, The Associated Press reported.

This arrangement ensures the space station will always have at least one American and one Russian on board to keep both sides of the orbiting outpost running smoothly, the AP said.

NASA and Roscosmos were the two main partners responsible for the construction and operation of the ISS, with the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency also involved.

However, tensions between Russia and the West, exacerbated by the invasion of Ukraine, have also worsened space relations.

Three Russian cosmonauts flew to the ISS in March. And Roscosmos this month released photos that appear to show these cosmonauts holding the flag of Luhansk, one of the self-proclaimed republics that Russia helped secede from Ukraine in 2014 and has just claimed to fully conquer in the current conflict to have.

Former Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin has regularly criticized Western sanctions against Russia, saying they could result in the ISS crashing into the United States.

He also celebrated the flags of other countries veiled on Russian-built rockets, drawing a sharp reaction from retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly.

“Without these flags and the currency they bring in, your space program is worth nothing.” Kelly tweeted to Rogozin in March.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russia-says-will-quit-international-space-station-ukraine-war-rcna39988 Russia Says It Will Abandon International Space Station Amid Ukraine War

Fry Electronics Team

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