Russia on Tuesday announced plans to build the first module of its own space station by 2025, after the government hinted it may abandon the International Space Station (ISS).
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“The first basic module for the new Russian orbital station is already under construction,” the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, told Telegram.
“The goal is for it to be ready to be launched into orbit in 2025,” he said.
This announcement comes after contradictory comments from the Russian authorities on their spatial plans.
Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov had hinted on Sunday that Moscow would withdraw from the ISS in 2025 to focus on building its own station.
Roscosmos qualified these remarks by telling AFP that the decision would be taken after 2024 “on the basis of the technical condition” of the station.
According to Moscow, the state of the ISS leaves much to be desired, with modules which “have practically reached their end of life”.
At the beginning of April, the flight director of the Russian segment of the ISS, Vladimir Soloviev, had meanwhile estimated that the life of the orbital laboratory could be extended until 2030, while saying to expect “an avalanche of failures. “After 2025.
Mr. Borissov said Monday that the state of aging of the ISS foreshadowed a “disaster”. “We cannot endanger the lives” of cosmonauts, he said.
According to him, the future Russian space station could be placed in an orbit higher than the ISS and serve as “intermediate transfer point for flights to the moon”.
The operation of the ISS is one of the last areas of cooperation between Russia and the United States, which has experienced a period of heightened tensions since 2014.
Russia has announced a number of ambitious plans in space in recent years, but most are barely, like the spacecraft and heavy launcher set to replace the reliable, but aging Soyuz system.
Space cooperation with the United States is also deteriorating, against a backdrop of international tensions.
Moscow has thus left a lunar project with NASA, to try to develop another with China.