The ongoing situation between Russia and Ukraine has put several international projects at risk. One of these is the International Space Station, one of the most ferociously expensive collaborative projects ever initiated. The ISS is currently scheduled to conclude in 2030 but the project’s demise could have been accelerated by a Russian withdrawal. That, officially, won’t happen.
Russia comes to the party
Rather than spinning off its space ambitions to create its own station, ROSS, the country has reaffirmed its commitment to the station for the next five years. According to a NASA announcement, the US, Canada, Japan, and the European countries that make up the ESA, “…will support continued space station operations through 2030”.
Russia’s participation continues until 2028. Whether it will see out the rest of the project isn’t known. The NASA announcement doesn’t go into much detail about Russia’s continued involvement — addressing it would almost inevitably become political — but ISS director Robyn Gatens did offer a more general statement on the update on the space station.
“The International Space Station is an incredible partnership with a common goal to advance science and exploration. Extending our time aboard this amazing platform allows us to reap the benefits of more than two decades of experiments and technology demonstrations, as well as continue to materialize even greater [discoveries] to come.”
Roscosmos head Yuri Borisov said, in late April this year, that “The ISS program is the largest and most successful international project in the field of space, and I am glad that such a unique laboratory will continue its work and will contribute to the realization of the most daring ideas of mankind in space exploration” (via SpaceNews).