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Russia build its own space station – Russia will withdraw from the ISS space station after 2024. The country will be working with the United States and astronauts from other countries on board the station in the coming years, but what happens next?

Russia wants to stop its involvement with the ISS after 2024, top people from the space agency Roscosmos said recently. When exactly that will happen remains vague. It may well take years. (Russia build its own space station)

For example, the Russians have told the American NASA that they want to stay on board until their own Russian space station ROSS is in use. The country has been working on the station for years, but in practice the project is not really getting off the ground yet. Russian flight leader Vladimir Solovyov recently said he expects the space station to be commissioned in 2028.

But until then, Russia can’t just stop performing manned flights and work in space, Solovyov said: “We would then have a backlog that is very difficult to catch up on”.

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Cooperation of importance on the ISS

Russia makes a major contribution to the ISS. A large part of the modules and laboratories is in the hands of Russia. But the Russian part does not work separately from the rest. For example, astronauts from different countries come together ‘on the floor’ and work together on experiments.

In the core, Russia also works together with the US. The Americans, for example, supply electricity with their solar panels. The Russians, in turn, with the help of a coupled cargo ship, ensure that the ISS always gets a push, so that it continues to float around the earth in the right orbit. In addition, astronauts and cosmonauts regularly hitchhike with each other to and from the space station.

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If Russia disappears, solutions must therefore be found for essential components. Some of them are already there: astronauts can be transported with spaceX rockets and capsules. But other Russian contributions are harder to replace.

In addition to the US and Russia, many more countries are involved in the ISS. Think of Japan, Canada and Brazil, but also of many European countries, including the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden.

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On board, it’s not about politics and religion. “If you talk about that, you get splits,” astronaut André Kuipers told earlier this year. Nevertheless, the partnerships, certainly between the US and Russia, have been under pressure since the war in Ukraine.

In recent months, Russia after U.S. sanctions threatened not only to leave earlier, but also to sabotage the station. “If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from uncontrolled orbit and crash in the United States or Europe?” threatened ex-head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin.

The final phase of the ISS

Nevertheless, the US and Russia made agreements behind the scenes about an extension of their cooperation in space. NASA also expressed its intention to keep the ISS in the air until 2030. After that, the station will likely launch in a controlled manner at Point Nemo, the point in the ocean furthest away from land.

The station has been around for much longer than initially conceived. The ISS was launched in 1998 and had to last fifteen years. Since November 2000, astronauts have been on board constantly to do tests. New parts are also occasionally placed.


Technically, it would even be possible to continue with the ISS after 2030, NASA says. But by then it will become clear whether that is true. And if Russia withdraws, it will have to be seen whether the station can continue to exist without support from the country.

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