Russia announces its definitive withdrawal from the International Space Station
NASA recently made public its optimism regarding the maintenance of its agreement with Russia on the International Space Station (ISS) until 2030. However, the head of the Russian space agency (Roscosmos), Dimitry Rogozin, was quick to deny his words. At the time he pointed out that, due to the sanctions imposed on Russia for the war in Ukraine, they would not continue to work with their international partners any longer than necessary. Now, a month after that first statement, Rogozin has come back to announce that, although they have not yet sent the notice to NASA, the decision has already been made: they are leaving the International Space Station.
It must be said that they cannot leave overnight. Rogozin himself knows this. For now their agreement is signed until 2024, at most they could withdraw from the extension requested by NASA for 2030. Even if they withdraw, they would have to give a year’s notice. And that is precisely what they will do, according to the head of Roscosmos. They will only remain on the International Space Station if sanctions on Russia are lifted. And since that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen in the short term, they think that’s all there is to it.
Speaking to the Russian news outlet TASS, he has pointed out that they will comply with all protocols and send notice to their partners well in advance. They would not stay until 2030 by any means. Moreover, they are not even confident that this would be feasible without a very large investment.
There are currently three Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station: Sergey Korsakov, Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev. As explained by IFLScience, Russia’s wish is that they do not work on joint experiments with their international partners and perform them individually in the Russian module.
Even so, what is certain is that for the moment, despite all the tensions that are more than palpable, both parties have complied so that the work on the ISS is not damaged. In fact, recently two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut returned to Earth together in a maneuver resulting from the collaboration between the two space agencies.
Perhaps for that reason NASA relied on Russia to remain at the facility until 2030. Despite the fact that Roscosmos has cut its supply of rocket engines and withdrawn its personnel from the European Space Station in Kourou, French Guiana. Also despite the fact that they are increasingly hampering the access of their Soyuz rockets to launch new international missions into space.
For the time being, we will have to wait. Russia has made it clear that they are under no obligation to make their deliberations public and that the brief announcement they have made is therefore more than enough. The only ones who should know the details are their international partners and they will be informed in due course. But the decision has already been made. The one place where it seemed that the Ukrainian War would not reach is already suffering its consequences in full.