Russian officials this week said the 23-year partnership between the United States and Russia that keeps the International Space Station (ISS) in orbit could soon end.
Yuri Borisov, Russia’s deputy prime minister, reportedly said at a government meeting that the country could exit the ISS in 2025, according to state television on April 18. Borisov quoted worsening condition space station, launched in 1998 by NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, as the main reason for the potential departure.
“We cannot risk our lives [of our cosmonauts], “Borisov said, according to BBC… “Structure and metal [are] grow old, [and] it can lead to irreversible consequences – to catastrophe. “
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Later that day, Borisov published a statement partially returning the 2025 departure date, which said that “a technical inspection is necessary, and then we can make a decision and inform our partners.” according to Science magazine…
Meanwhile, Roscosmos officials announced that work has already begun on the creation of a national space station, which will be the successor to the national stations Salyut and Mir, launched into low-earth orbit in the 1970s and 80s. Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, posted a video on the messaging app Telegram saying that “the first core module of the new Russian space station is under development” and could be completed by 2025, the BBC reported.
Rogozin added that the Russians will not leave the ISS until the construction of a potential new station is completed. However, even with sufficient notice, a potential Russian departure could seriously affect NASA and other agencies that rely on the ISS.
“It would be very difficult for ISS partners to keep the station running without Russia,” Vitaly Egorov, an industry columnist and former spokesman for the Russian company Dauria Aerospace, told Science magazine. The magazine added that the cargo and crew services provided by SpaceX could potentially help fill the gaps left by Roscosmos.
Originally published on Live Science.