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Russia space agency to withdraw from International Space Station project after 2024, official tells Putin

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Russia space agency to withdraw from International Space Station project after 2024, official tells Putin


In a video provided by Roscosmos, Russian cosmonauts Sergei Korsakov, Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveyev welcome at the International Space Station on March 18 Appearing on , these are the first new faces in space since the beginning of the Russian war in Ukraine. The crew emerged from the Soyuz capsule wearing yellow flight suits with blue stripes, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. (Russian Federation/Associated Press)

Russia will withdraw from the International Space Station program “after 2024” after fulfilling its obligations, according to a Kremlin readout to the meeting between newly appointed Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov and Russian President Vladimir Putin .

“You know that we are working within the framework of international cooperation on the International Space Station. Without a doubt, we will fulfill all obligations to our partners, but the decision to leave the space station after 2024 has been taken,” Borisov said in the Kremlin Putin was told in a readout report issued by the Palace.

“I think by this time, we will start to form the Russian orbital station,” Borisov said.

Russia’s withdrawal would be a major blow to the International Space Station, which has been a model for international cooperation for decades. The announcement comes as Ukraine’s war has severely strained relations with the United States and Europe.

NASA International Space Station Director Robin Gattens said NASA has not received any official word from Russia about its decision to withdraw from the ISS.

“The Russians, like us, are thinking about their next steps. Since we plan to transition to a commercially-operated space station in low Earth orbit after 2030, they have similar plans. So they are thinking about this transition as well. We also Haven’t received any official word from the partners on today’s news, so we’ll be talking more about their future plans,” Gattens said.

This is not the first time Russia has threatened to abandon the International Space Station as the US and Europe have imposed severe sanctions over the war in Ukraine. Borisov’s predecessor, Dmitry Rogozin, repeatedly threatened to do so before being ousted earlier this month.

But this latest threat has more teeth, and a clear endorsement from Putin himself. Putin said “OK” after Borisov told him that Roscosmos would start building its own space station after 2024, according to minutes of the meeting posted on the Kremlin’s website.

Russia’s withdrawal would be a major blow to the International Space Station, which has been a model for international cooperation for decades.

The news comes less than two weeks after NASA and Roscosmos announced a crew swap agreement, or “seat swap,” that has been negotiated for more than four years. Starting in September, two Russian astronauts will be launched from Florida on an American spacecraft, while two American astronauts will be launched into space on a Russian rocket. It is unclear whether Russia’s decision to withdraw from the ISS after 2024 will affect the crew exchange agreement.

The International Space Station is a cooperative project between the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and the European Space Agency, and is divided into two segments – the Russian orbital segment and the U.S. orbital segment. The Biden administration announced in December that it was committed to extending the International Space Station from 2024 to 2030. But Russia – NASA’s No. 1 partner on the International Space Station – never signed a deal.

Former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman told CNN in February: “The Russian part cannot operate without electricity from the American side, and the American side cannot operate without the propulsion system on the Russian side. “So you can’t divorce amicably. You can’t consciously decouple.”

Since then, NASA has been exploring ways to move the space station without assistance from the Russian department. In June, the Cygnus cargo spacecraft demonstrated its ability to raise the orbit of the space station. But whether the ISS can survive without the Russians remains an open question.

NASA said in February that it intends to continue operating the International Space Station, which was launched in 2000, until the end of 2030, after which it will deorbit and crash into a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. NASA says the commercially-operated space platform will replace the International Space Station as a venue for collaboration and scientific research.

Hear what the European Space Agency chief has to say:

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