SOCHI, May 22. /TASS/. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has instructed Roscosmos to look into the possibility of developing the International Space Station in cooperation with partners in the BRCIS group (Brazil, India, China and South Africa).
"Yes, I did give such an instruction to Roscosmos to look into the possibility," Rogozin said.
"For now we have agreed with the Americans to work on the ISS up to 2024, but it should be born in mind that starting from 2019 they will be launching space crews on their own, using their own vehicles. Also, we expect that the ISS will be increasingly commercialized."
Rogozin pointed out that the ISS project had its own deadlines.
"When it is to be brought to an end will be decided at negotiations with our US partners," he said. "The question is different: nobody doubts Russia needs an operational orbiting station - either a new national space laboratory or an international project." Rogozin added that Russia’s existing ISS segment would be involved in that future project.
"We are not going to dispose of it, for instance, drowning it, by any means. It is absolutely viable till 2024."
Rogozin recalled that Russia’s segment of the ISS was self-sufficient and capable of functioning on its own. At the same time he announced the possibility new modules - one called Nauka (Science) and an energy module - might be launched in the future.
"In other words, we will be building up Russia’s ISS segment using more add-on modules. A new configuration of the orbital station will emerge on that basis," Rogozin explained, that in the future a decision would have to be made if the station would be a permanently inhabitable one or used by visiting crews.
Rogozin remarked that it was extremely important to live up to the day when Russia would have a super-heavy rocket, opening up an opportunity for flying around the Moon and other celestial bodies.
"Decisions will be made a little bit later," he said.