NASA is investigating whether the International Space Station (ISS) could operate without help from Russia. According to Russia, cooperation may be jeopardized by the conflict in Ukraine. Just last week, a Russian space chief claimed that the International Space Station could collide with Europe or the United States if he lost support from his homeland.
The United States and Russia are working closely together on the International Space Station. NASA is responsible for supplying electricity and supporting life. Russia provides the thrust that keeps the station in Earth orbit.
However, the sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine may have serious consequences for the space station. This became painfully clear last week from an online sermon from Russian Aerospace Chief Dmitry Rogozin: “Who will make sure that the International Space Station in the United States or Europe does not fail if it stops working with us? There is also a possibility that a 500-ton structure could collide with China or India. He wrote, among other things, that the International Space Station does not fly over Russia, so you are really in danger.”
So NASA errs on the safe side and looks for solutions. For example, space company Northrop Grumman has already offered to provide an alternative propulsion system. SpaceX could have already suggested solutions. Founder Elon Musk also decided to “bully” space chief Rogozin even more by placing the Space X logo under his plan.
At the moment, there are no real problems with the International Space Station. According to Kathy Luders, head of NASA’s manned space program, Russian employees are still committed to the work: “But we are constantly looking at how to work more flexibly. It will be difficult for us to work on our own. The International Space Station is an international project with mutual dependencies.”
The situation in Russia is causing problems for the European Space Agency (ESA). He has planned to launch a new rover on Mars with Russia next summer. This project has now been delayed: “The sanctions and general context seem to make its launch in 2022 highly unlikely.”
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