Just after becoming the chief of Roscosmos, Yuri Borisov said on Tuesday that the country has decided to withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024.
Borisov became the head of the agency just over a week ago, after the controversial former head of the agency, Dmitry Rogozin, was removed from the post. While it is likely that Rogozin is being eyed by Putin to lead parts of Russia-occupied Ukraine, the new leader has shared the first major piece of news since his demotion.
While Russia has been mulling over the future of the ISS for some time, they have now made the concrete decision to end their support for the orbital laboratory in two and a half years’ time. Borisov said, “The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made,” and then added, “I think, by that time, we will start forming a Russian orbiting station.”
Since the first section of the ISS launched into orbit back in 1998, the station has been a symbol of cooperation between the two countries. But recently, tensions have been especially high. Sanctions placed on Russia by the US as a response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine prompted the agency to threaten to leave the ISS.
The purpose of the sanctions is to kill the Russian economy, plunge our people into despair and hunger, and bring our country to its knees. It is clear that they will not be able to do this, but the intentions are clear.
Therefore, I believe that the restoration of normal relations between partners in the International Space Station and other joint projects is possible only with the complete and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions.
Specific proposals of Roskosmos on the timing of the completion of cooperation within the framework of the ISS with the space agencies of the United States, Canada, the European Union and Japan will be reported to the leadership of our country in the near future.Dimitry Rogozin
This firm end date also comes shortly after Roscosmos and NASA agreed to their new seat-swap agreement, where the agencies will begin trading seats for cosmonauts and astronauts on Soyuz and Crew Dragon spacecraft. This will help ensure that there is always an American astronaut and a Russian Cosmonaut aboard the station – until 2024, that is. The seats are being exchanged on a one-to-one basis, without any additional exchange of funds to adjust for the varying costs between SpaceX Dragon and Soyuz spacecraft.