Russia to build its own space station
Sylvie Claire / April 20, 2021
Russia announced plans Tuesday to build the first module of its own space station by 2025, after the government hinted it might abandon the International Space Station (ISS).
The first base module for the new Russian orbital station is already under construction, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said on Telegram. The goal is for it to be ready to be launched into orbit in 2025, he said. The announcement comes after conflicting statements from Russian authorities about their space plans. Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borissov had suggested on Sunday that Moscow would withdraw from the ISS in 2025 to focus on building its own station. Roscosmos had qualified these remarks by affirming to the AFP that the decision would be taken after 2024 on the basis of the technical state" of the station. According to Moscow, the state of the ISS leaves much to be desired, with modules that have almost reached the end of their life. At the beginning of April, the flight director of the Russian segment of the ISS, Vladimir Soloviev, estimated that the life of the orbital laboratory could be extended until 2030, while saying he expected an avalanche of failures after 2025. M.
Borissov said Monday that the aging state of the ISS presaged a catastrophe. We cannot put in danger the lives of cosmonauts, he said. According to him, the future Russian space station could be placed at a higher orbit than the ISS and serve as intermediate transfer point for flights to the Moon. The operation of the ISS is one of the last areas of cooperation between Russia and the United States, which have been experiencing a period of heightened tensions since 2014. Russia has announced a number of ambitious projects in space in recent years, but most of them are struggling, like the spacecraft and heavy launcher set to replace the reliable but aging Soyuz system. Space cooperation with the United States is also deteriorating, against a background of international tensions. Moscow has thus left a lunar project with NASA, to try to develop another one with China.