MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. The head of the science and engineering council of Russia’s Roscosmos agency, Yuri Koptev, has confirmed plans for putting in orbit a new Russian space station at some future date, possibly in the middle of the next decade.
"The draft of the federal space program for 2016-2025, which has been considered and recommended for adoption, envisages the possibility of creating a Russian orbital station on the basis of three modules of the ISS after 2024. The issue will be on the agenda if a decision is made to curtail cooperation with the current partners under the ISS program in 2024 and to terminate the operation of the existing station," he said.
Koptev speculated that a national orbital station may be created on the basis of the modules that would be added on after 2017.
"They are being made at Roscosmos plants for expanding the Russian segment of the ISS. Originally their launches were scheduled for 2017-2018, but then postponed till 2017-2018 for various reasons," Koptev said.
If a final decision is made, the modules will be reconfigured somewhat.
"The projects will be adjusted accordingly to ensure the modules should be able to operate regardless of the ISS and serve as a basis for building and developing a future orbital station. There is a possibility we will be developing and using it in cooperation with our partners in the BRICS group. Talks with them are now in progress," Koptev said.
For the time being Russia is oriented towards cooperation under the ISS project. There are legal liabilities extending till 2020 and fundamental consent to continue partnership till 2024.
"Under that cooperation we are making plans for the expansion of the Russian segment of the station with three new modules. Their mission will be to conduct more "down-to-earth," applied work, expected to yield a tangible result," Koptev said.