Russia has planned to quit the International Space Station “after 2024”, the recently-appointed chief of Moscow’s space agency said to President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
The statement comes as tensions increases between the Kremlin and the West over Moscow’s army intervention in Ukraine & several rounds of unusual sanctions against Russia.
Russia along with the United States have worked side by side on the ISS, which has been in orbit since 1998.
Yury Borisov, who was recently appointed as chief of Roscosmos in mid-July, said to Putin, “Of course, we will fulfill all our obligations to our partners, but the decision to leave this station after 2024 has been made.”
While calling the space programme’s main priority, “I think that by this time, we will begin putting together a Russian orbital station.” To which, Putin replied “Good”, as released by the Kremlin.
Until now exploration of space was one of the several areas where cooperation between Russia and the United States and its allies had not been wrecked by the tensions over Ukraine and elsewhere.
Borisov added the space industry was in a “difficult situation.”
He mentioned he would seek “to raise the bar, and first of all, to provide the Russian economy with the required space services, pointing to navigation, communication, and data transmission, among other things.
From sending the first man into space in 1961 and launching the first satellite four years earlier are among major accomplishments of the Soviet space programme and remain a significant source of national pride in Russia.
But experts added the Russian space agency remains a shadow of its former self and has in recent years suffered several setbacks including corruption scandals as well as the loss of a number of satellites along with other spacecraft.
Borisov, who is a former deputy prime minister with a military background, has replaced Dmitry Rogozin, a firebrand nationalist politician known for his bombastic statements and eccentric behaviour.