Russia announced this week that they will be withdrawing from the International Space Station- the famous space laboratory- in 2025. They aim to build and launch their own Space Station into orbit by 2030.
A space module is already set to be assembled by Energeia corporation and will cost Russia about 5 billion USD. Dmitry Rogozin, Roscosmos’ chief said in an interview, “If in 2030, in accordance with our plans, we can put it into orbit, it will be a colossal breakthrough. The will is there to take a new step in world manned space exploration.”
Even though they will build and manage the space station themselves, they have said that other countries are free to join.
Why was the decision announced?:
There are few speculations on why this decision was announced. One reason may be because America is not dependent on Russia for transporting humans and supplies to the ISS. After the Space shuttle’s retirement in 2011, US was completely dependent on Russia for means of transport to the ISS. But with the recent success of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, they have no need for Russia and its Soyuz rockets. This meant that Roscosmos stopped receiving the funding NASA has been providing for launching humans into space. Roscosmos received more than 3.9 billion USD in funding for rocket launches.
Another reason is the currently deteriorating relations between US and Russia. The two countries have also been accusing each other of secretly militarizing/weaponizing space. In 2020, US accused Russia of carrying out a weapons test in space after a projectile was allegedly fired from a Russian satellite.
Russia also rejected NASA’s offer to join them for the Artemis program- the one that will land humans on the Moon and beyond. Instead, they signed with China to jointly develop a Lunar Base.
This decision marks the end of a two decade cooperation between Russia and US for the ISS…