Russia is planning on creating its own space station afterwards.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, international relations with various Russian institutions have become severely strained. One particular relation that many have been curious about is the role of the Russian astronauts currently stationed aboard the International Space Station. Today, Yuri Borisov, newly-appointed head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, announced what many have been expecting.
Borisov announced today that after 2024, Russia is planning on pulling its astronauts out of the International Space Station, and beginning construction on their own orbital outpost for them. “The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made,” Borisov said during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin. “I think that by that time we will start forming a Russian orbiting station.”
Some engineers and scientists have expressed concern that running the ISS past 2024 may prove difficult without Russia’s help, as Russia is one of the station’s primary investors. Jordan Bimm, a historian of science at the University of Chicago, told the Associated Press that a Russian departure “does not bode well for the future of the ISS,” and that “it creates a constellation of uncertainties about maintaining the station which don’t have easy answers.”
— SPACE.com (@SPACEdotcom) July 26, 2022
“What will `leaving’ look like?” he asked. “Will the last cosmonauts simply undock a Soyuz and return to Earth, leaving the Russian-built modules attached? Will they render them inoperable before leaving? Will NASA and its international partners have to negotiate to buy them out and continue using them? Can these modules even be maintained without Russian know-how?”