This was announced by the newly appointed head of Roscosmos, the state company that leads the Russian space program, Yury Borisov
“Of course, we will fulfill all our obligations to our partners, but the decision was made to abandon this station after 2024. I think that by then we will begin to form the Russian orbital station,” Borisov told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting. The transcript released by the Kremlin breaks off after a single word from Putin: “Good.”
The ISS in danger
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine entering its sixth month, relations between Russia and the West have reached a low point not seen since the Cold War. As a result, there has been an ever-increasing list of sanctions imposed by both parties and associations and where the Russian nation has not slowed down one iota in its plans.
By formally withdrawing from the International Space Station, Russia puts this laboratory in space in a very bad situation of permanence.
At NASA, though, both ISS astronauts and ground team members said they “haven’t officially heard anything” about the plans and “everyone is working together” on the station right now, conducting research and keeping the lab in orbit. The decision has taken them by surprise.
“It’s an unfortunate development given the critical scientific work done on the ISS, the valuable professional collaboration our space agencies have had over the years, and especially in light of our renewed agreement on cooperation in spaceflight,” he said. US State Department spokesman Ned Price.
NASA itself plans to retire the ISS, a symbol of post-Cold War unity, after 2030 as it begins working with commercial space stations, but this end of collaboration in Russia has been unforeseen. Despite this, this is not Russia’s first disagreement with international space projects. In the midst of the pandemic, in mid-2020, Russia also announced that it was renouncing its participation in the Artemis lunar program, whose objective is to return humans to the Moon in 2024.
How this decision will affect the future of the ISS after 2024 is complex to answer. The Russians have plans to develop their own Russian Orbital Service Station (ROSS) as we have seen, but what will happen to the Russian modules attached to the ISS is still uncertain.