“What Russia’s threat to pull out of the ISS might mean for NASA” – TTG

In this Dec. 6, 2021, file photo provided by NASA, the International Space Station orbited 264 miles above the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship docked to the Rassvet module and the Prichal module, still attached to the Progress delivery craft, docked to the Nauka multipurpose module. Russia’s space chief said Tuesday, July 26, 2022, that they will opt out of the International Space Station after 2024 and focus on building its own orbiting outpost. (NASA via AP, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will pull out of the International Space Station after 2024 and focus on building its own orbiting outpost, the country’s new space chief said Tuesday amid high tensions between Moscow and the West over the fighting in Ukraine. The announcement, while not unexpected, throws into question the future of the 24-year-old space station, with experts saying it would be extremely difficult — perhaps a “nightmare,” by one reckoning — to keep it running without the Russians. NASA and its partners had hoped to continue operating it until 2030.

“The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made,” Yuri Borisov, appointed this month to lead the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin. He added: “I think that by that time we will start forming a Russian orbiting station.”

The space station has long been a symbol of post-Cold War international teamwork in the name of science but is now one of the last areas of cooperation between the U.S. and the Kremlin. NASA had no immediate comment.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price called the announcement “an unfortunate development” given the “valuable professional collaboration our space agencies have had over the years.” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. is “exploring options” for dealing with a Russian withdrawal.


Comment: Quite a shame considering the length and breadth of American-Soviet cooperation in space even during the height of the Cold War. But this is an open ended announcement. After 2024 could easily turn into 2030. It may be all for dramatic effect. 

In other space news, China launched a lab module for their space station a few days ago. It linked up successfully only thirteen hours after launch. That’s impressive in itself. The second and final lab module will be launched later this year. What’s not so impressive is that the booster for this lab module will make an uncontrolled reentry into the atmosphere in a week. It’s a big booster and there’s no assurance that it will burn up on reentry. We don’t know where it might land. China doesn’t seem too concerned. Not very considerate, these Chinese space types.


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14 Responses to “What Russia’s threat to pull out of the ISS might mean for NASA” – TTG

  1. Leith says:

    The lease for Baikonur Spaceport in Khazakstan is good for another 28 years. If Russian/Khazak relations get worse and the lease gets broken, what then? Another war? Or they have several others: Vostochny in the far east, and some smaller ones such as Kapustin Yar & Svobodny, are they capable of heavy launch.

    PS – Gotta wonder if the Chinese Space Administration will allow Roscosmos to be a junior partner in Tiangong Space Station AKA the Heavenly Palace?

  2. southpoint says:

    Chinese aren’t very considerate?

    Maybe that’s because they have their very own Manchurian President.

    From September 2021 to July, the Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded three crude oil contracts with a combined value of roughly $464 million to Unipec America, the U.S. trading arm of Chinese state-owned oil company Sinopec, according to a review by The Epoch Times of the DOE documents. A Chinese firm with ties to Hunter Biden had made an investment in the national oil giant.

    The sale would tap 5.9 million barrels in total from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to export to the Chinese firm. The latest contract was unveiled on July 10, consisting of 950,000 barrels sold for around $113.5 million.

    The two most recent sales to Unipec came out of an emergency drawdown of the U.S. oil stockpile, initiated under President Joe Biden on March 31 in what he said would offset the loss of Russian oil in global markets and tame rising fuel costs at home.

    But the Unipec contracts have been a subject of heavy criticism since the firm’s connections to the younger Biden came into focus in recent weeks. With Americans nationwide still reeling from the $5 per gallon gas prices in June, the selling of oil reserves to foreign adversaries such as China is at odds with U.S. energy and security needs, Republican lawmakers and analysts have said.

  3. jim ticehurst says:

    Yep…Messy….And China went from Bottle Rockets…to a Full and Capable Space Program..Over nite…They just Rolled Every thing Out..Like NASA Had been over there
    Putting it All Together From American Technology ..For Say…All Eight Years Of Obama
    Onward..With more Help from The “Hunter” (Of Money)…Biden Enhancing CCP /Military ..Industry Advances..Damned Fast..Damned Scary..Damned Serious..

  4. Babeltuap says:

    CCP has their own space station. Who cares. We have ours and they have theirs. Way it should have always been and same results; Free enterprise creates. Commie Bolsheviks do not. Only steal. Without us they are a stagnant koi pond.

  5. ked says:

    great news! remaining participants will ramp up their roles. a boon for independent servicing – private sector types like Blue Origin & SpaceX. more room aboard for partners to contribute crew. I hope we don’t abandon this one before the replacement(s) are up & operating (if then – shoulda kept SpaceLab going … just ’cause we could). all we need now is for a few cosmonauts to defect when ordered to return.

  6. A real tragedy.
    Can people recall when we wanted to draw Russia into the West, not push it away?

    But this is just part of the massive damage that has been done to U.S. and Western interests (e.g., economic) by their totally uncalled for intervention in this intra-Slav dispute.
    The proper course for the West would have been to encourage negotiation between the RF and Ukraine, based on acceptance of the legitimacy of the RFs concerns.
    Those pushing for greater Western support for Ukraine in this war
    seem to have neglected accurate analysis of
    1. risk to reward ratios
    2. cost/benefit ratios.

    As support for that negotiation-favoring position,
    see what Ray McGovern has to say here:
    Ray used to be a (the?) lead Russian analyst at the CIA.
    There are lots more videos from John Mearsheimer, Ray McGovern, and other like-minded folk here:

    Also helpful are several articles by Philip Giraldi (also a CIA veteran), e.g.,

    Two stories that I [Giraldi] believe have received insufficient attention are
    the US government’s three decades long obsession with weakening and de facto destroying the Russian state and
    the dominant neocon plus associate liberal democracy promoter role in what has become American foreign policy.

    (Giraldi goes on to challenge those goals.)

    More generally, see Giraldi’s archive here:

    Finally, I don’t see how McGovern and Giraldi can creditably be called “Putin puppets”.
    They each have the American national interest in mind,
    and are aware of the costs of our most recent course of action.

  7. Lars says:

    The decision by Russia to quit the ISS could be more about economics than politics. They will not be able to afford the cost much longer. Which means the plans to build their own is just that – plans. The workers needed for tech jobs are leaving and that will impact their space program too.

  8. fredw says:

    “all we need now is for a few cosmonauts to defect when ordered to return.”

    Sounds kind of risky if you’re landing at Bikonur.

  9. Fourth and Long says:

    No mention of Nancy Lugosi visiting?

  10. JK/AR says:

    I note Ked above alluding to the opportunities and I’d just mention reading much the same yesterday:


  11. Lars says:

    This will support my contention that Russia is running out of money:


    This will have substantial impact on what Russia will and can do. Once the impact spreads wide and far, the political situation will change. The main problem is that we do not know what comes next?

    It will also that a large effort and a long time to repair the damage Putin, et al, are doing to the country. Western cooperation would speed up the process, but at a cost. They just may have to become a democracy, for the first time in their history.

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