Russia to stop collaboration on International Space Station
Yuri Borisov, the newly appointed director-general of Russia's space agency Roscosmos, has announced that the country will no longer support the functioning of the International Space Station (ISS) beyond 2024.
NASA has conveyed surprise at this announcement as it has not heard of any changes via official channels.
As reported by Reuters, this announcement comes as the culmination of months of tension over the functioning of the space station following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February. Pictures of Russian cosmonauts aboard the ISS supporting the war effort have strained the relationship further.
However, it seemed as if their disputes on Earth would not affect the relationship between Russia and the West in space when they signed a crew exchange agreement less than two weeks ago. Under the agreement, US astronauts and Russian cosmonauts would be able to share flights on each others' spacecrafts going to the ISS.
In response to the news from Russia, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said that America's commitment to the ISS will continue on to 2030 as previously agreed upon. Additionally, he denied any official knowledge of Russia's change in stance.
"NASA has not been made aware of decisions from any of our partners, though we are continuing to build future capabilities to assure our major presence in low-Earth orbit," he said.
The ISS was launched in 1998 and has been continuously occupied by American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts since 2000, along with representatives from Canada, Japan, and 11 European nations.