SCIENCE

Russia to drop out of International Space Station after 2024

Jul 26, 2022, 9:04 AM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 10:29 am
Russia space station...
FILE - ESA French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, left, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, center, and U.S. astronaut Peggy Annette Whitson pose for a photo before their final preflight practical examination in a mock-up of a Soyuz space craft at Russian Space Training Center in Star City, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Russia will opt out of the International Space Station after 2024 and focus on building its own orbiting outpost, the country's newly appointed space chief said Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)
(AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will pull out of the International Space Station after 2024 and focus on building its own orbiting outpost, the country’s new space chief said Tuesday amid high tensions between Moscow and the West over the fighting in Ukraine.

Yuri Borisov, appointed this month to lead the state space agency, Roscosmos, said during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin that Russia will fulfill its obligations to its partners before it leaves.

“The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made,” Borisov said, adding: “I think that by that time we will start forming a Russian orbiting station.”

Borisov’s statement reaffirmed previous declarations by Russian space officials about Moscow’s intention to leave the space station after 2024 when the current international arrangements for its operation end.
NASA and other international partners hope to keep the space station running until 2030, while the Russians have been reluctant to make commitments beyond 2024.

NASA had no immediate comment.

The space station is jointly run by the space agencies of Russia, the U.S., Europe, Japan and Canada. The first piece was put in orbit in 1998, and the outpost has been continuously inhabited for nearly 22 years. It is used to conduct scientific research in zero gravity and test out equipment for future space journeys.

It typically has a crew of seven, who spend months at a time aboard the station as it orbits about 250 miles from Earth. Three Russians, three Americans and one Italian are now on board.

The complex, which is about as long as a football field, consists of two main sections, one run by Russia, the other by the U.S. and the other countries. It was not immediately clear what will have to be done to the Russian side of the complex to continue safely operating the space station once Moscow pulls out.

The Russian announcement is certain to stir speculation that it is part of Moscow’s maneuvering to win relief from Western sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.
Borisov’s predecessor, Dmitry Rogozin, said last month that Moscow could take part in negotiations about a possible extension of the station’s operations only if the U.S. lifts its sanctions against Russian space industries.

With Elon Musk’s SpaceX company now flying NASA astronauts to and from the space station, the Russian Space Agency lost a major source of income. For years, NASA had been paying tens of millions of dollars per seat for rides to and from the station aboard Russian rockets.

Despite the tensions over Ukraine, NASA and Roscosmos struck a deal earlier this month for astronauts to continue riding Russian rockets and for Russian cosmonauts to catch lifts to the space station with SpaceX beginning this fall. But the flights will involve no exchange of money.

The agreement ensures that the space station will always have at least one American and one Russian on board to keep both sides of the outpost running smoothly, according to NASA and Russian officials.

Moscow and Washington cooperated in space even at the height of the Cold War, when Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft docked in orbit in 1975 in the first crewed international space mission, helping improve U.S.-Soviet relations.

NASA has been working with U.S. companies on establishing their own private space stations to eventually replace the International Space Station. NASA hopes that these commercial space stations will be up and running by the end of the decade.
___
AP aerospace writer Marcia Dunn in Cape Canaveral, Florida, contributed to this report.

Today’s Top Stories

Science

Refinery flares safeguard fuel processing equipment if malfunctions occur...
Alejandro Lucero

Refinery flares are normal says Utah Department of Environmental Quality

Refinery flares might seem uncommon, but the Utah Department of Environmental Quality said they are normal and present no cause for concern.
18 hours ago
A spider hangs for web...
MADDIE BURAKOFF AP Science Writer

Do spiders sleep? Study suggests they may snooze like humans

The research showed the spiders' overnight movements looked a lot like REM in other species, she said — like dogs or cats twitching in their sleep. And they happened in regular cycles, similar to sleep patterns in humans.
18 hours ago
Utah Clean Air Partnership urges Utahns to take steps toward cleaner air....
Martha Harris

“Live to Breathe” campaign encourages steps for clean air

Utah Clean Air Partnership's "Live to Breathe" campaign encourages Utahns to take meaningful steps toward cleaner air.
5 days ago
Potential Space X debris found in Australia....
Jackie Wattles, CNN Business

Likely debris from a SpaceX capsule found in Australia

NASA confirms that one of the objects is "likely" a scrap of hardware from a SpaceX Dragon capsule that reentered the Earth's atmosphere last May.
5 days ago
Researchers at Yale University say they have been able to restore blood circulation and other cellu...
Katie Hunt, CNN

Research in pigs shakes up what we know about dying

With more research, the cutting-edge technique could someday potentially help preserve human organs for longer, allowing more people to receive transplants.
6 days ago
This image provided by NASA on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, shows a large pink, speckled galaxy resemblin...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

Rare type of galaxy dazzles in new Webb telescope image

Astronomers have gleaned new insights about individual stars and star formation within the chaotic galaxy, as well as the black hole at the galactic center, as a result of Webb's capabilities.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Russia to drop out of International Space Station after 2024