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Eastern Express 27.07

On Tuesday, Russia publicly declared it would withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024. However, this does not signal the end of Russian-American cooperation in space exploration.

Since at least 2021, Russian authorities have contemplated abandoning the project, citing problems with aging equipment and escalating safety threats. Nations participating with the ISS have pledged to utilize the station until 2024, yet NASA aims to operate it until 2030. However, the current split that has emerged between Moscow and Washington over the Russian invasion of Ukraine and with the onslaught of economic sanctions, seems to have expedited their withdrawal.

In response to sanctions, Dmitry Rogozin, the former director of Roscosmos – the main successor of the Soviet space programme, threatened that Russia would even go as far as allowing the station to crash into Earth.

The ISS, the size of a football field, was launched in 1998 and has since been a testament of post-Cold War international cooperation with Moscow which went on for decades while the relationship between the U.S. and Russia soured.

NASA is actively seeking out commercial space enterprises and has offered initial financing needed for four prototype stations in preparation for the retirement of the International Space Station, within the next decade.

The two NASA and Roscosmos-operated components of the station are interdependent, and it is uncertain if the ISS will be able to continue operation if one side abandons the project. Russia is responsible for the space station’s vital propulsion control systems, which maintain the correct orbit of theISS’s as the Earth’s gravity steadily drags it into the atmosphere. The power supply is at the responsibility of the US portion of the ISS.

Last month, Dmitry Rogozin said that conversations as to Russia’s involvement beyond 2024 will be only possible if US sanctions against the Russian space industry as well as other economic sectors are loosened.

To shed more light on the issue, we were joined by Bogumił Radajewski, a science journalist from TVP Nauka (in English: Science).

What’s more…

-British prime minister Boris Johnson presented Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, with the Sir Winston Churchill Leadership Award for his work and achievements while the Russian aggression continues to rage on.

-In response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the European Union have extended sanctions against Russia.

-American basketball player Brittney Griner has appeared at a Russian court for a fifth hearing in her drawn-out drug case trial, which could result in a ten-year prison term.

-According to a new International Monetary Fund report, Russia’s economy is faring better than expected despite harsh sanctions being imposed on the country.

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