Russia says it will suspend cooperation on the International Space Station

As a reaction to the sanctions?
Loukia Papadopoulos
International Space Station on orbit of the Earth planet.dima_zel/iStock

Russia’s space director Dmitry Rogozin said on Saturday in a tweet that he would halt ties between partners at the ISS and other joint space projects until the sanctions against Moscow were removed. The leader of Roscosmos complained that the aim of the sanctions was to “kill Russian economy and plunge our people into despair and hunger, to get our country on its knees.”

Rogozin also added that the sanctions will ultimately fail, saying that they “won’t succeed in it, but the intentions are clear.” “That’s why I believe that the restoration of normal relations between the partners at the International Space Station (ISS) and other projects is possible only with full and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions,” Rogozin explained.

A suspension of many partnerships

Rogozin's decision includes a suspension of Roscomos' partnership with NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Rogozin further added.

Rogozin also said that he sent a letter to all three space agencies demanding that they lift sanctions against companies in the Russian rocket and space industry. He said that the American space agency responded with a letter signed by NASA chief Bill Nelson, providing proof via a photo.

The letter seemed to say: "The U.S. continues to support international government space cooperation, especially those activities associated with operating the ISS with Russia, Canada, Europe, and Japan. New and existing US export control measures continue to allow cooperation between the U.S. and Russia to ensure continued safe operations of the ISS."

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However, as of yet, there is no confirmation whether the letter is real or not.

West seeking to cut ties too

On Wednesday however, a U.S. astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts did land in Kazakhstan after leaving the ISS on a Russian Soyuz capsule. However, it's not just Roscosmos that is seeking to cut ties with the West.

Last month, the ESA said it was suspending cooperation with the Russian agency over the ExoMars rover mission and the British satellite venture OneWeb added that it had reached out to Elon Musk’s SpaceX to send its satellites into orbit after canceling a Russia-based mission. It seems that all parties are looking at alternatives to avoid a Western-Russian collaboration.

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