Russia’s threat to drop the ISS on the US or Europe could backfire, space experts say

Vladimir Putin’s The space chief was caught for saying WRONG the International Space Station is not flying over Russia in a recent row.

Roskosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin dramatically threatened to drop the ISS in response to the sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine to the United States or Europe.

Russia's space boss threatened to drop the ISS on the US or Europe


Russia’s space boss threatened to drop the ISS on the US or EuropePhoto credit: Getty

Russian engines control the station’s propulsion and keep it afloat.

He wrote on Twitter to the West that the ISS “does not fly over Russia, so all risks are on you”.

However, space experts say his claim is false, pointing out that the space station routinely passes by southern regions of Russia.

Tracker data shows the ISS flying over land bordering Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China and North Korea.

Some suspect Rogozin actually meant that the ISS does not fly over parts of Russia that are of importance to President Putin, especially the Kremlin, which is well outside its trajectory.

“It doesn’t fly over the parts of Russia that the oligarchs care about,” said one observer.

The embarrassing blip comes as space relations feel the strain, despite the long-held view that space affairs trump politics.

Russia has already suspended cooperation with European launch authorities and withdrawn personnel from Europe’s main spaceport in French Guiana.

Tensions have also hit a joint Mars mission to uncover life signs.

Scientists intended it Carry on “business as usual”. However, the European Space Agency has said that the planned launch for 2022 now seems “very unlikely”.

NASA is considering its options for keeping the ISS afloat without Russian help.

The US and Russia are the two main parties involved in the 23-year-old project.

Elon Musk has said SpaceX will save the ISS if Russia tries to drop it from orbit.

Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s manned space program, said: “Our SpaceX people are looking at whether we can have additional capabilities.

“We don’t get any indication at the working level that our colleagues are not committed.

“Even so, we’re always looking at how we can get more operational flexibility, and our freight providers are looking at how we can add different capabilities.”

But she also warned, “It would be very difficult for us to operate alone – ISS is an international partnership that has been created… with shared dependencies.”

The ISS is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2030


The ISS is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2030Photo credit: Getty

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