by Douglas Messier
Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said Russia will suspend cooperation on the International Space Station (ISS) with its U.S., Canadian, European and Japanese partners due to sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. How and when was left unspecified.
The announcement throws the future of the decades-old ISS program into uncertainty. Roscosmos and NASA are the two lead agencies in the partnership. Russia launches crews and resupply ships to the station. Its vehicles also boost the station to higher altitudes to counteract the decay in its orbit.
NASA officials have said it would be difficult, not to mention expensive, to keep the station operating without Russian involvement.
Rogozin had given NASA, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) until March 31 to lift sweeping sanctions imposed over the invasion. The United States and Canada have imposed sanctions; ESA is abiding by sanctions imposed by its member states.
Rogozin said cooperation won’t resume until sanctions are ended. He tweeted copies of letters Roscosmos received from its partners. NASA and CSA said they would continue cooperating with Russia on the space station. ESA’s letter said the space agency passed the request on to member nations.
Rogozin said Roscosmos would soon provide details of the nation’s withdrawal from the program.
NASA and its partners have been working toward extending ISS operations from 2026 to 2030. Whether that will be possible in unclear.