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27 Dec, 2022 15:31

Russian space agency outlines goal for ISS

Roscosmos says it is keen to continue participating in the project in the coming years
Russian space agency outlines goal for ISS

Russia’s Roscosmos is interested in remaining involved in the International Space Station (ISS) project after 2024, a top official has said. The space agency is now working on government approval of the decision.

The International Space Station was launched in 1998, with plans to remain in orbit until 2024. NASA had previously announced that it intended to prolong the run of the aging station until 2030. But the new head of Roscosmos, Yury Borisov, previously indicated that Russia would consider withdrawing from the project after its initial expiration date in 2024 and begin its own national space station. The Russian space agency later clarified that it wasn’t going to make any “abrupt” moves, instead thoroughly considering the decision on a possible pullout. 

Sergey Krikalev, the head of the agency’s human spaceflight programs, said on Tuesday that Roscosmos had been considering prolonging its participation in the ISS project for at least another four years.

“For such a decision to be made [by Russia], we’ve sent the relevant papers to the government, offering to continue the mission of the station,” he pointed out. 

The authorities in Moscow have now asked the agency to provide additional materials proving the technical possibility of prolonging the ISS project and agreeing the move with other involved ministries, the head of the human spaceflight programs added. 

Roscosmos intends to fulfil the government's requests by the government “right after the [New Year] holidays,” Krikalev said.

The issue of keeping the ISS in orbit has also been discussed with foreign participants of the project, which – besides the US - include Japan, Canada and several European nations, and most of them have confirmed their interest in it, he stressed.

In a later interview, Krikalev clarified that Russia currently considers staying at the ISS until 2028, with any further decisions to be made based on the condition of the station after that period.

In October, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov suggested that “it is possible to extend the ISS operations, while the Russian orbital station is being deployed in the minimal configuration,” also mentioning 2028 as the new deadline.