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From international to national: Russia to leave ISS project after 2024

Moscow will continue to fulfill its obligations for now and send crews to the ISS
International Space Station Roscosmos Press Office/TASS
International Space Station
© Roscosmos Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, July 26. /TASS/. Russia will leave the International Space Station (ISS) project after 2024 when it will focus on creating a national orbital station, Roscosmos Chief Yury Borisov said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

TASS gathered main points of what is known about Moscow’s decision to withdraw from the project.

Decision is made

The Roscosmos chief emphasized that Russia would not participate in the operations of the ISS. "We will definitely fulfill all our obligations to our partners, but the decision to withdraw from this station after 2024 has been made," Borisov said.

At the end of April, previous Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said that Moscow had already determined the timeframe of its participation in the project.

Why is Russia leaving

Roscosmos has repeatedly questioned the practicability of extending the project until 2030 which the US side insisted on. Rogozin particularly pointed out that without maintenance, working at the station would become dangerous for crews while the repairs would require "colossal money."

He also noted Western sanctions against Russia’s aerospace industry and him personally. Then he directly tied the timeframe of cooperation on the ISS with the lifting of the sanctions.

What will happen to ISS

Moscow will continue to fulfill its obligations for now and send crews to the ISS. On July 14, Roscosmos and NASA signed an agreement on seat-swap flights. According to it, Russians will perform three flights aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft, with Russia’s Anna Kikina embarking on the first flight this fall.

The fate of the station post-2024 is still unclear. Earlier, Rogozin cautioned that the withdrawal from cooperation may result in the ISS exiting the orbit in an uncontrolled way since the correction of the orbit is done exclusively by the engines of Russia’s Progress cargo spacecraft.

Own station

By 2024, Russia will begin developing a Russian Orbital Service Station (ROSS). According to Borisov, it will become a top priority of domestic manned cosmonautics.

The decision to create Russia’s own orbital outpost was made in 2021, and in May 2022, Roscosmos signed a contract with Russia’s Energia Space Rocket Corporation on making the first basic module for the station.