First in 2024, now in 2028: Russia’s departure from the International Space Station (ISS) seems to be postponed. The reason given by Russia is that it first needs to put its own space station into operation.
ISS departure from Russia postponed
Just the day before yesterday, we reported that Russia wants to turn its back on the ISS and go its own way. Apparently, that fact hasn’t changed. However, the original plan to leave the International Space Station as early as 2024 doesn’t really seem to be working out. Four more years the country, which participated so far regularly in common missions in the space station, would like to wait now according to rumors still. The reason sounds quite plausible. They simply want to wait until the cosmonauts can move into their own space station.
This emerges from a report of the news agency Reuters, which refers to an anonymous source from the ranks of NASA. According to the report, the U.S. space agency has been informed about the postponement of Russia’s ISS departure. According to internal information, this will not happen in 2024, but in 2028. Russia’s own space station should then be completed and ready for occupancy. The new targeted year is a bit surprising, as it has always been said so far that construction of the Russian space station could only begin in 2028.
Russia to stay in ISS until further notice
Of course, Russia is not exempt from problems such as supply chain disruptions and shortages of raw materials and semiconductors, so it is questionable whether the schedule can be met. According to the Russian space agency Roskosmos, it would therefore be necessary to remain in the International Space Station for the time being until its own station is ready for reference. Anything else would be surprising. After all, Russia’s interest in the ISS is still very great. If the country were now to really wait until at least 2028 as part of its space program to send cosmonauts into space again, the progress made to date would be difficult to catch up on.
NASA and ROSKOSMOS focus on cooperation
The devastating Ukraine war is leaving its mark not only on the human suffering currently unfolding in Ukraine. Globally, too, hardly any country can avoid the economic consequences brought about by the war. Inflation, increased interest rates and cost of living as well as broken supply chains have been with us for months now. However, the cooperation between NASA and Roskosmos seems to be almost unaffected by the war. This is surprising, since the USA has otherwise put any cooperation with Russia on ice. A closer look, however, reveals why the two space agencies are an exception. The two sides are so dependent on each other that they would be cutting their own throats if the other were ejected.
Accordingly, according to NASA head Kathy Lueders, it is still “business as usual” as far as cooperation with Roskosmos is concerned. At the U.S. space agency, however, it will be interesting to see when Russia will concretize its exit plan. The head of Roskosmos was very vague in announcing his exit “after 2024”. 2028 sounds more realistic. It is possible, however, that there is no truth behind Russia’s announcement, but rather a further tactic against Western countries. We must expect something like this at present in view of the Ukraine war. Cooperation between Russia and China may also be on the cards in the future. The People’s Republic launched a space project this June that should be able to collect solar energy from space.