The government has decided on the timing of the termination of Russian participation in the International Space Station project, but so far the decision will not be announced, said the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin.
“I can only say one thing: in accordance with our obligations, we will warn our partners a year before the end of work on the ISS,” the head of the state corporation said.
Rogozin recalled that the terms of Russia’s work on the space station are determined by the government and the president.
“For the time being, we will not rush to announce our position and will continue to work within the deadline set by the government – until 2024. The decision on the fate of the ISS will largely depend on the situation that will develop both in our country and around it, ”said the head of Roscosmos.
Cosmonauts Sergey Korsakov, Oleg Artemiev and Denis Matveev are currently on the ISS.
What will happen to the ISS without Russia
On April 17, Nathan Eismont, a leading researcher at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that the operation of the ISS would become almost impossible if Russia withdraws from the program.
In turn, the executive director of Roscosmos for manned programs, Sergei Krikalev, said that cooperation between Russian and American specialists in space is necessary for productive work on the ISS.
He also said that the state corporation is assessing the technical condition of the Russian segment of the station in order to extend its operation.
“Our partners are offering to fly beyond 2024. We will continue to evaluate the technical condition of our segment for the time being,” said Krikalev.
On April 11, Rogozin suggested that foreign partners could pay for station maintenance services in rubles if Moscow withdraws from the ISS project after 2024. According to the head of Roscosmos, when trying to save the station on their own, partners will have to compensate for the Russian absence with technical means that they do not yet have.
Russian orbital station
Rogozin also recalled plans to build the Russian Orbital Service Station (ROSS), which “will be multifunctional, work on it is already underway, a draft design is being developed by Energia Corporation.
“When it is presented and protected, after that we will begin to create this“ smart iron ”and prepare for its launch into space, the deployment of the station,” said the head of Roscosmos.
It is assumed that ROSS can become a replacement for the ISS. This station will not be permanently inhabited; it is planned to launch up to two manned ships a year to it. The Russian station will be based on the NEM-1 module, which RSC Energia has been building for the ISS for almost ten years. The launch of the module is planned from 2025-2026 to 2030. Other modules of the station, which have not yet been created, expect to be launched from 2030 to 2035.
In early March, Roskosmos reported that it had already begun preliminary design of its own space station.
“We will need a few more years. <…> Now, if we push ourselves hard, in 2026 we could put the first module into orbit,” Dmitry Rogozin said.
Rogozin noted that a time gap between the operation of the ISS and the launch of a new station is undesirable, since in a few years skills in crew training and research can be lost.
According to the head of the state corporation, at first the ISS and ROSS can be used in parallel.
“Due to financial constraints, we cannot simultaneously pull the ISS project and the construction of a new station. Of course, it is necessary to provide for a certain period of overlap, when the ISS and ROSS will operate in parallel for some time, as was the case in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Mir and the ISS flew simultaneously,” he said.
Cooperation on the ISS under sanctions
According to Rogozin, NASA, the European and Canadian space agencies have made it clear that sanctions on Roscosmos enterprises will not be lifted, but they will not affect work in the interests of the ISS.
“Fearing the destruction of cooperation on the ISS, where the role of Russia is of a fundamental nature for ensuring the viability and safety of the station, Western partners are making it clear that in reality sanctions regarding work in the interests of the ISS will not work,” said Roskosmos CEO. He called this state of affairs unacceptable, since the sanctions, according to him, are aimed at blocking the financial, economic and production activities of high-tech enterprises, their goal is “killing the Russian economy.”
“The restoration of normal relations between partners in the International Space Station and other joint projects is possible only with the complete and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions,” Rogozin said.
Earlier, he reported that he had sent letters to NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency regarding the lifting of sanctions from TsNIIMash and the Progress Rocket and Space Center. In response letters, the United States and Canada cited the continued safe operation of the station as their priority. In turn, the head of NASA, Bill Nelson, pointed out that the current US sanctions do not affect the operation of the ISS.
“Until 2030, the station will fall apart”
In early March, Rogozin said that the ISS could “fall apart” before 2030 if “huge amounts of money” were not invested in its repair.
“What’s the point? In conditions where the United States, the British and Europeans behave in this way, ”he said and warned that there would be risks for the crew in the event of an extension of the service life.
“So far we have government permission to work on the ISS until 2024. The United States has decided to work there until 2030. We believe that by 2030 the station will fall apart. Its resource is 15 years. Count, 15 years have passed since 1998,” Rogozin said.
Previously, he expressed the opinion that the ISS will be operated no longer than until 2028.
“I repeat, we will make a decision on the service life of the Russian segment based primarily on technical limitations,” the head of Roscosmos noted.
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