Russian space officials have told their U.S. counterparts that Moscow plans to stay on the International Space Station (ISS) at least until their own orbiting outpost is built in 2028, the official told Reuters. chief of space operations at NASA.
Russia’s Tuesday assurance came after the new head of its space agency, Roscosmos, surprised NASA earlier in the day by announcing that Moscow intended to end more than two decades of partnership on the space station “after 2024”.
“We’re not getting any indication at any level of work that anything has changed,” Kathy Lueders, NASA’s chief of space operations, told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that the US space agency’s relationship with Roscosmos remained “as is.” usually”.
Any ISS partner must give a year’s notice to withdraw from the international agreement.
The Russian space program has a long and rich history. As the Soviet Union, it launched the first satellite, Sputnik, in 1957; launched the first human into space, Yuri Gagarin in 1961; launched the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, in 1963; and both performed the first spacewalk and built the first space station. Their Soyuz rockets, which take their cosmonauts to the ISS, are workhorses designed from the end of the Cold War.
However, since the fall of the Soviet Union, Roscosmos has faced many challenges, both financial and political. More recently, he was charged with bribery.
Over the years, Dmitry Rogozin, then head of Roscosmos, made outlandish threats and suggestions to NASA. When the war in Ukraine started, he threatened to abandon American astronauts aboard the ISS — supplemented by a video – got into a heated exchange on Twitter with former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, and told NASA he should use brooms to get to the station.
RIA Novosti, controlled by the Russian government, @rianru posted a video on Telegram directed by @Roscosmos where cosmonauts say goodbye to Mark Vande Hei on #ISSdeparture, then the Russian segment detaches from the rest of the ISS. @Rogozin clearly threatens the ISS program. #NASA #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/fj2coK1xR1
Russia has also focused more on military uses of space and last November conducted an anti-satellite test that produced more than 1,500 traceable pieces of debris. The act was widely condemned by the space community and other countries.
Russians continue to work and live aboard the ISS, and in September cosmonaut Anna Kikina will fly aboard a SpaceX rocket as a mission specialist heading to the station.
NASA plans to continue using the ISS until at least 2030.