(PresidentialHill.com)- After 2024, Russia will no longer be participating in the International Space Station.
Instead, the new space chief for the country said earlier this week that Russia would work on building their own outpost in orbit. It’s another step that separates Russia from much of the western world as tensions rage on through the war with Ukraine.
While it may not seem like a bid deal on the surface, Russia pulling out of the space station brings into question whether it would be feasible to even continue after 2024. One expert said it would be a “nightmare” to try to run without Russia’s participation.
Originally, NASA and their partners in the International Space Station were hoping to continue operating with it through 2030.
In meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week, Yuri Borisov, the new head of Russia’s space agency called Roscosmos, said:
The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made. I think that by that time we will start forming a Russian orbiting station.”
The International Space Station has been seen for years as a symbol of the teamwork that can happen between major countries after the Cold War all for a good cause — in this case, for science. Now that Russia is leaving after 2024, there won’t be much cooperation at all between the United States and Russia.
Officials with NASA said they haven’t heard directly from any of their counterparts from Russia about the space station. Following the news coming out, Bill Nelson, the administration of NASA, issued a statement that said they were still “committed to the safe operation” of the station until 2023, and that they will continue “to build future capabilities to assure our major presence in low-Earth orbit.”
Russian officials in the space sector have declared before that the country would eventually leave the International Space Station. But, Borisov’s announcement was the first official nail in the coffin.
The country apparently wants to have their own major accomplishment in space, and they don’t see a way to do that while they’re cooperating with the United States and other western countries on this project. They’ve also said that the ISS isn’t safe anymore because of the years of wear and tear, making it challenging to continue to operate on it.
There is a side reason why Russia could be bowing out, though. SpaceX, one of Elon Musk’s companies, flies astronauts for NASA back and forth from the International Space Station, which dealt a major blow to Russia’s space agency’s income.
Before the SpaceX contract began, NASA was paying multiple millions of dollars for every astronaut they were sending to the International Space Station via Russian Soyuz rockets.
Some people in the space sector have surmised that this move is yet another political tactic being taken by Russia to try to convince the U.S. and other western countries to ease the sanctions they have put on them as a result of their invasion of Ukraine.
But, it probably isn’t enough all by itself to convince the U.S. to back down and be friendlier to Russia.