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April 21, 2021

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Going it alone? Russia to launch own space station

Russia’s space agency said yesterday it hoped to launch its own orbital station in 2025 as Moscow considers withdrawing from the International Space Station program to go it alone.

Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said work had begun on the first module of a new station, after officials warned that Russia was considering pulling out of the ISS, one of the few successful examples of cooperation with the West.

“The first core module of the new Russian orbital station is in the works,” Rogozin said in a statement on messaging app Telegram. He said Russia’s Energia space corporation was aiming to have the module “ready for launch” in 2025 and released a video of Energia staff at work.

Launched in 1998 and involving Russia, the United States, Canada, Japan, and the European Space Agency, the ISS is one of the most ambitious international collaborations in human history.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov recently said Moscow was considering whether to leave the ISS program from 2025 because of the station’s age.

Roscosmos said a decision on quitting the ISS had not yet been made: “When we make a decision we will start negotiations with our partners on forms and conditions of cooperation beyond 2024.”

Rogozin has announced a series of ambitious plans but his agency has struggled under funding cuts.


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