Russia has decided to abandon the International Space Station (ISS), but will only reveal the project’s departure date a year earlier, said on Saturday the director general of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin.
“We prepared our proposals, as I said, and sent them to the government and the president. The decision has already been made. We do not have to speak publicly, I can only say one thing, in accordance with our commitments, we will inform our partners about the end of our work on the ISS a year earlier”, he told the public television channel “Rossia-24”.
On March 2, Rogozin said he would propose to the Kremlin different options for leaving the ISS after Russia’s orbiting platform partners were unwilling to lift sanctions on two Russian civilian companies: TsNIIMash, a mechanical engineering research firm, and the Progress Rocket Space Center.
Russia had given NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) until March 31 to respond to this request.
The partners’ refusal formed the basis for Russia’s decision to abandon the ISS when negotiations were underway to extend the life of the international orbital platform until 2030.
The Russian government has given its authorization to participate in the ISS until 2024, with the intention of later launching its own station. In Russia’s opinion, the station, which was launched into orbit in 1998 and was supposed to have a lifespan of 15 years, would have to receive “an enormous amount of money” to repair it and prevent its disintegration “into pieces” before 2030.
NASA acknowledged that attempts to separate the US segment from the Russian segment “would pose significant logistical and security challenges given the multitude of external and internal links, the need to control the spacecraft’s tilt and altitude, and the interdependence of the software.” .
Rogozin argued that it is impossible to control the ISS without Russia’s involvement, as it is the country responsible for orienting the stations and avoiding dangerous collisions, as well as providing fuel and cargo.
The orbit corrections of the international orbital platform and all propulsion are carried out by the engines of the Russian segment Zvezda service module or by Progress freighters.