The head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos has announced his intention to end cooperation on the ISS after 2024. In 2025, he said, Russia wants to put its own space station into orbit.
ISS operations to be possible without Russia
According to consistent media reports, the new head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Yuri Borisov, told President Putin in a televised meeting that he does not want to participate in the ISS after 2024. Borissov, who has been in office for less than two weeks, is said to have emphasized that he intends to fulfill all obligations until 2024. However, the decision to discontinue cooperation with NASA has been made.
It is unclear to what extent these statements are to be taken seriously. Russia has been threatening to withdraw from the ISS for years. So far, however, this announcement has never been implemented. However, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has now significantly changed the initial situation: The international space station is the only remaining point of cooperation between Russia and the West. The space industry, which was previously closely linked and strongly international, has thus undergone a major change.
The persistence of the cooperation is probably mainly due to the fact that the operation of the ISS would be almost impossible without the other partner. Thus, up to now, there has been a reliance on each other’s technology to perform all maneuvers and prevent a crash. However, NASA has already indicated that it is working on emancipating itself from Russian technology: Corrective maneuvers should soon be possible without it.
End of ISS 2030
The ISS is scheduled to end in 2030. A year later, it is to plunge into the Pacific Ocean in a controlled manner. Until then, however, at least NASA wants to continue using it for research purposes. Until the end of the ISS, NASA wants to help private companies launch their own space stations into space. So far, however, private space initiatives have been limited mainly to fun trips for the well-heeled and Elon Musk’s Starlink project, which repeatedly provokes negative headlines. Russia, meanwhile, has now announced plans to launch its own space station into space as early as 2025. Given the isolation of the Russian space industry, however, this is a highly unrealistic goal.