Russia has decided to quit the International Space Station after 2024, the country's newly-appointed chief of Moscow's space agency told President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. The decision comes as Russia also announced that Roscosmos would soon start building its own orbiting outpost to expand its space programs.
However, Russia has vowed to complete all its obligation to its partners at the International Space Station before leaving the project. The official announcement was made by Putin on Tuesday alongside the newly appointed Director General of Roscosmos Yuri Borisov, a former deputy prime minister and deputy defense minister. It is not known when work would start on the new orbiting outpost or if something has already been finalized.
Russia's Big Plans
Borisov said Russia will meet its obligations to other ISS partners before pulling out of the project. "The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made," he said during a meeting with Putin.
Russian space officials had already stated that Moscow intended to depart the station after 2024, and Borisov repeated those statements in his address.
It comes amid soaring tensions between Russia and the west over the invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this month, NASA announced that a Russian cosmonaut will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) in September aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon. This will be the first time Elon Musk's business will transport a Russian aboard one of its spacecrafts.
According to representatives from NASA and Russia, the agreement guarantees that there will always be at least one American and one Russian on the ISS to maintain the outpost's flawless operation on both sides.
The exchange had been planned for some time and was completed despite disagreements over the conflict in Ukraine as a show of ongoing Russian and US collaboration in space.
According to NASA officials, Russian engineer Anna Kikina will launch from Florida's Kennedy Space Center alongside two Americans and a Japanese astronaut. As a result of the agreement between the space agency and its Russian counterpart, American astronauts will travel to the ISS on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Space exploration was one of the few areas where cooperation between Russia, the United States, and its allies had not been ruined by tensions over Ukraine and other issues until now. However, that seems will soon change as Russia's focus will now shift toward building its own orbiting outpost.
One of the Soviet space program's major achievements and a significant source of national pride in Russia is the launch of the first satellite in 1957 and the sending of the first man into space in 1961.
However, according to experts, the Russian space agency is still only a ghost of what it once was and has experienced a number of setbacks recently, including corruption scandals and the loss of several satellites and other spacecraft.