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Russia to withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024 to start their own station

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On Tuesday, Russia’s chief of Moscow’s space agency notified President Vladimir Putin that the agency will be withdrawing from the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024. The chief also announced plans to create a new station. 

When the ISS was launched in 1998, many saw it as a chance to improve US-Russia relations. However, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, this announcement only puts the West at even further odds with Russia.

As noted by The Washington Post, the Biden administration has imposed multiple economic sanctions on Russia to limit their space programs. Biden said at the time that the sanctions were aimed at cutting off “more than half of Russia’s high-tech imports. That will strike a blow to their ability to continue to modernize their military. It’ll degrade their aerospace industry, including their space program.”

As Russia exits from the ISS, they will look to create their own station. Roscosmos, the state space agency, revealed a model of Russia’s orbital station. According to The Moscow Times, who cited Interfax, the space station would likely cost close to $6 billion.

“As you know, we operate in international cooperation at the International Space Station. Without a doubt, we will fulfill all our obligations to our partners,” said Yury Borisov, who was appointed Roscosmos chief in mid-July. “But the decision to withdraw from the station after 2024 has been taken. I think that by this time we will start to form a Russian orbital station.” 

However, independent space analyst Vitaly Yegorov said that it would be near impossible for Russia to build an orbiting station from scratch in only a few years – especially amid ongoing conflict with Ukraine. According to Yegorov, building a full-fledged space station would take at least a decade and would require “the most generous funding.”

Senior NASA official Robyn Gatens said during a conference that the US has not yet received “any official word” from Russia related to their withdraw. When asked if she wanted the US-Russia space relationship to end, Gatens replied: “No, absolutely not.”

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