Russia warns the United States against ending cooperation on the International Space Station ISS

Ukraine conflict: Is cooperation on the International Space Station threatened?
NASA via Getty Images

Despite its attack on Ukraine, Russia wants to continue working with the United States in space on the International Space Station. Russia has warned the United States to end this cooperation.

The head of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, wrote that cooperation is necessary for the safe operation of the International Space Station.

German astronaut Matthias Maurer is currently working with four Americans and two Russians on an outpost in space.

After its attack on Ukraine, Russia confirmed its willingness to continue cooperation with the United States in space – and at the same time warned the United States not to end this cooperation. The head of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, wrote Thursday in the Telegram news channel, against the background of new sanctions from Washington, that cooperation is necessary for the safe operation of the ISS.

If the Americans were to end cooperation, “Who will protect the International Space Station from a possible uncontrolled landing from orbit and collapse on American or European soil?” It is not impossible for the remains of the International Space Station to fall on India or China. Exiting the International Space Station is currently out of the question.

According to TASS, Roscosmos had previously announced that it wanted to fulfill its international obligations in space. This included maintenance of the International Space Station and flights there. German astronaut Matthias Maurer is currently working with four Americans and two Russians in an outpost of humanity. At the end of March, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hay is scheduled to return to Earth in a Russian Soyuz capsule.

NASA also continues to work with Roscosmos and all international partners regarding the International Space Station, according to a statement from NASA. “There are no changes planned to support the work being done in space and on Earth.” NASA managers informed reporters about the current status of the planned Artemis Moon program, but did not want to answer any questions about the conflict in Ukraine.

The former ESA president hopes for further cooperation

Despite the numerous disputes between Russia and the USA, space travel has long been considered one of the few areas in which cooperation between the two countries has succeeded. Early in the year, NASA agreed that the International Space Station would continue to operate until 2030. Roscosmos wanted to propose an extension to the government in Moscow.

Former European space chief Jan Warner had previously said he hoped cooperation between Russia and the West in space exploration would continue, despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “I hope that eventually space travel will rise above geopolitical difficulties. During the Cold War, for example, the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft docked in 1975,” Woerner told DPA. The 67-year-old headed the European Space Agency (ESA) in Paris from 2015 to February 2021.

Wörner spoke in favor of extending the operation of the ISS. The International Space Station is a peace project. Amid the tensions surrounding Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, German cosmonaut Gerst was in space with a Russian and American colleague. It was more than just symbolic. “Space travel can be a bridge between nations,” said Werner, who is now president of the German Academy of Sciences and Engineering.

dpa / kh

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