The conflict in Ukraine once again broadens its scope. Russia is apparently considering abandoning the ISS (International Space Station). Dimitri Rogozin, director general of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, said so. It is his response to the sanctions imposed on Russian companies.
He referred to relations between ISS partners. “They are only possible with the total and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions,” he said in a message. He noted that the sanctions “block financial, economic and productive activities of our high-tech companies.”
He said he will submit a proposal to the Kremlin aimed at ending Russian cooperation on the ISS. But the head of the space agency did not share further details. Nor a timeline with the deadlines for the presumed departure of the Station. NASA sources consulted by The New York Times did not want to directly assess Rogozin’s words. They only affirm that operations at the ISS continue normally.
Continuity of the ISS
The head of Roscosmos has also taken advantage of Telegram to launch attacks against his counterparts in Western space agencies. He sent them letters complaining about the sanctions in place against Russia. “The American and Canadian responses are almost carbon-copied,” Rogozin explained. About Josef Aschbacher, executive director of the European Space Agency, he noted that “he acted like a letter carrier. He does not solve such problems, he only conveyed my appeal to the EU member states.”
“We are invited to wait until the bureaucracies of the 28 EU countries deign to read Roscosmos’ letter. At that point, the donkey will die or the ISS will die of old age,” he said. The agreement of all the agencies collaborating on the station ends in 2024 and the United States is working toward extending it. “All of our partners including Roscosmos are moving toward extending the station to 2030,” said Kathy Lueders. She is associate administrator for space operations at NASA. The fact that Russia is considering abandoning the ISS seems to contradict this claim.