July 26, Moscow. Yuri Borisov, Director of the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, announced that it will withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024 and that Russia will focus on building its own orbital base.
The announcement, amid high tensions between Moscow and the West over the war in Ukraine, casts doubt on the future of the ISS, with experts saying it would be extremely difficult to keep it running without the Russians.
The International Space Station has been a symbol of international cooperation after the Cold War, but it is now one of the few areas of cooperation prevailing between the United States and Russia. NASA and its partners had planned the continuation of this operational collaboration until 2030. For scientists this is distressing news because of the valuable professional collaboration between the space agencies to date.
Borisov’s statement confirmed earlier comments by Russian officials about Moscow’s intention to abandon the ISS after 2024, when current international agreements for its operation end. Russian authorities have complained on many occasions that the wear and tear on the ISS puts the station’s safety and lifespan at risk.