Russia eyeing own space station by 2025

Roscosmos is considering leaving the International Space Station (ISS) after its current agreement runs out in 2024. It is working on an independent station project hoping to launch the first module as soon as 2025.

Russia may pull out of the ISS in 2025, as by that time it intends to launch its own space station, says BBC. According to the country’s space agency Roscosmos, an agreement with international partners on the ISS expires in 2024. The station, which has been an example of excellent international co-operation, was launched in 1998 by the Russian and US space agencies. However, the ISS is ageing, and its technical modules have “reached the end of their service life”, says Roscosmos.

“We can’t risk the lives [of our cosmonauts]”, said Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov on state TV. He pointed out that the ageing of the station’s structure could lead to irreversible consequences up to a catastrophe. The official assured that Russia would give its international partners “fair warning of our departure from the ISS in 2025”.

Head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin recently announced that Russia had begun work on its own space station. On 20 April, he posted a corresponding video on Telegram messaging app adding that “the first core module of the new Russian orbital station is in the works”. According to Rogozin, the aim is to have the module ready for launch by 2025. Interfax news agency reported that the Russian space station, which is developed by Energia corporation, was set to cost at least $5 billion.

Yury Borisov also announced that the new station would orbit at a higher latitude to provide a better view of the polar regions, which would be useful for opening up the Northern Sea Route. Russia has high hopes for this waterway due to the melting of the Arctic ice. He stated that Russia would construct the new space station on its own but didn’t rule out the possibility of other countries participating in the project. “We’ll definitely [take partners], but we can manage by ourselves,” he told Russia-1 channel in an interview.

Earlier this month, Russia celebrated the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human in Earth orbit. For years, the country had a monopoly on manned space flight, but in 2020, Elon Musk’s SpaceX began transporting NASA astronauts to the ISS. In March, Roscosmos signed an agreement with China’s National Space Administration to develop research facilities on the surface of the moon and in lunar orbit.

By Anna Litvina

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