Russia’s space agency has decided to leave the International Space Station due to economic sanctions.
According to Russian state news agencies, Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of Roscosmos, said, “The decision has been taken already, we’re not obliged to talk about it publicly. I can say this only — in accordance with our obligations, we’ll inform our partners about the end of our work on the ISS with a year’s notice.“
We previously reported that President Biden’s sanctions were not received well by Rogozin and how NASA responded.
In a speech, President Biden said, “Between our actions and those of our allies and partners, we estimate that we’ll cut off more than half of Russia’s high tech imports and will strike a blow to their ability to continue to modernize their military. It’ll degrade their aerospace industry, including their space program.”
Though these sanctions angered Rogozin, operations and future mission training on the ISS are continuing without interruption, according to NASA.
Stating that “the new export control measures will continue to allow U.S.-Russia civil space cooperation. No changes are planned to the agency’s support for ongoing in orbit and ground station operations”
In April, Rogozin tweeted that if the sanctions, which he deemed “illegal,” were lifted “complete[ly] and unconditional[ly]” then “restoration of normal relations between partners in the International Space Station and other joint projects is possible.”
Russia’s decision to end cooperation efforts is problematic for the station and NASA as they were hoping to continue utilizing the ISS until 2030.
As the two largest partners on the ISS, the station couldn’t easily operate without contributions from both the U.S. and Russian modules.
The U.S. segment of the station generates the bulk of the lab’s electrical power and maintains the pointing of the complex in orbit. Russian modules make major orbit adjustments and quick maneuvers to avoid space junk.
NASA is less reliant on Russia’s space program than it was in 2014 thanks to SpaceX and Boeing, but it’s not free of Russian influence yet.
It’s going to be a nail-biting year as the separation of cooperation efforts unfolds between Russia and the U.S.
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