Russia is committed to ISS expansion until 2028



WASHINGTON – The Russia government has agreed to continue participation in the International Space Station until at least 2028, becoming the last partner to agree to extend the station’s operations.

NASA said on April 27 that Russia has confirmed it will support the station until 2028. The other partners – NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency – previously agreed to extend the station from 2024 to 2030.

Roscosmos announced on April 25 that agency head Yuri Borisov had sent letters to the leaders of other space agencies involved with the ISS, informing them that the Russian government had agreed to the expansion.

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“The ISS program is the largest and most successful international project in the field of space, and I am glad that such a unique laboratory will continue its work and contribute to the realization of mankind’s most daring ideas in space exploration.” said a translated comment published by Roscosmos on social media.

“The International Space Station is an incredible partnership with a common goal of advancing science and exploration,” said Robin Gatens, director of the ISS Division at NASA Headquarters, in a NASA statement. “Extending our time on this amazing platform allows us to reap the benefits of more than two decades of experimentation and technology demonstrations, as well as continue to realize even greater discoveries to come.”

Russia’s future on the station was uncertain as Roscosmos discussed plans to develop its own national space station in the late 2020s. Shortly after being appointed head of Roscosmos in July 2022, Borissov said that Russia would leave the partnership “after 2024”, which many interpreted to mean immediately after 2024.

Borisov soon softened those criticisms, saying Russia would leave sometime after 2024. However, he was skeptical that Russia would be involved by 2030, the date set by NASA and accepted by other partners, citing a lack of research required. Display on the station and the health of some of the station’s aging modules.

Others at Roscosmos offered similar comments. “‘After 2024’ could mean 2025, 2028 or 2030,” Sergei Kryklev, executive director of human spaceflight programs at Roscosmos, said at a NASA briefing in August. “The decision on the termination of the program will be based on the evaluation of the technical status of the station and the results.”

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson did not mention the Russian statement in testimony before the House Science Committee on April 27 about the agency’s fiscal year 2024 budget request, but emphasized, as he has repeatedly since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, a good working relationship. Continues with Roscosmos.

“We built it together and we have to run it together,” he said of the US-Russian partnership on the station. “Today goes without a hitch.”

The partnership continued, he later told the hearing, despite technical problems such as coolant leaks on the Soyuz and Progress spacecraft while docking at the station. “We think they’re on top of it,” he said. “I can’t tell you if it’s a design problem or if it’s a manufacturing problem.” He added that NASA, working with Roscosmos, “pretty well ruled out” that it was caused by a micrometeoroid impact, Russia’s initial explanation for the Soyuz leak in December.

“There is no transparency issue between the two of us,” he said of the space station relationship. “We built the station together. We run it together. Astronauts and astronauts alike know that we must continue to work together for the safety of the crew.”

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Cooperation, he said, requires the extension of a long-standing waiver to sanctions imposed by the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA) so that NASA can provide funding to Russia. That waiver was initially tied to payments for Soyuz seats purchased by NASA from Roscosmos, but today inter-agency seats are now operational.

Rep. Nelson at the hearing. Another INKSNA by Brian Babin (R-Texas) did not directly address the question of the need for an extension, but again emphasized the need for integrated crews on Soyuz and commercial crew vehicles so that NASA and Roscosmos can assure. Attendance at the station.

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