After "threats" from the director of its agency, what if Russia withdrew from the International Space Station?

After "threats" from the director of its agency, what if Russia withdrew from the International Space Station?  The United States and other partners should consider alternatives if Russia suddenly jumps aboard. In the midst of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Dmitry Rogozin, Director of the Russian Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS) stated that Western sanctions against his country could lead to the downing of the International Space Station; This sparked controversy over the station's future in the form of Russia's withdrawal or abandoning its role in the international project.  These statements came after US President Joe Biden announced new sanctions against Russia targeting its aviation industry, including its space program, as well as "sensitive technology" such as semiconductors, communications and avionics.  A reminder or a threat? In response, Rogozin launched a series of tweets that were described as carrying a veiled threat, saying "Do you want to destroy our cooperation on the International Space Station?, Who will save the International Space Station from uncontrolled chaos, and the fall of (that chaos) on the United States Or Europe?  These comments raised concerns about their significance and what NASA and its European partners would do if the Russians suddenly pulled out of the ISS program.  Most of the reports and analyzes that dealt with these comments agree that the International Space Station is not about to fall, and that Russia cannot press a button to drop it or take it out of orbit at an altitude of more than 400 km above the Earth's surface.  Rogozin may be referring mostly to the fact that the space station is currently dependent on Russian propulsion systems to maintain its altitude in orbit, and was apparently threatening to withdraw these services if sanctions affected the International Space Station, according to a report published on the website "The Atlantic" ( The Atlantic) Atlantic ) American news.  Although NASA confirmed in a statement that it will continue to work "with all of our international partners - including the Russian space agency Roscosmos - for the continued safe operations of the International Space Station," it is unclear how long NASA and its partners can maintain working relationships. With Russia without being affected by the repercussions of the crisis on the ground.  Russia's role in the space station According to researcher Wendy Whitman Cope, professor of strategic and security studies at the American Air University, the International Space Station, which was co-founded by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada, is an ideal model for how countries can cooperate in major projects in space. The station has been continuously occupied for more than 20 years and has hosted more than 250 people from 19 countries.  Several agreements and regulations have been put in place to ensure that the 16-section space station built by different countries can operate smoothly while being operated by 5 different space agencies.  Although the station is run as a whole through the Multilateral Coordination Council, things become more complicated when it comes to the units themselves that are legally treated as if they were territorial extensions of their countries of origin, according to the article in a recent published by a space expert on the website "The Conversation" ( The Conversation ).  Russian units are among the essential parts of the international station. The Zarya unit, for example, provides electricity and propulsion for the station and adjusts its trajectory to lift it to a higher orbit or to avoid collisions with other objects in space. The Zvezda unit plays a major role in all life support systems of the plant such as oxygen production and water recycling.  It also highlights the importance of the Russian role in continuing to operate the station through the almost total reliance - since the United States abandoned the space shuttle program - on Russian Soyuz missiles to transport astronauts, supplies and equipment to the station.  These rockets are also supposed to help shut down the International Space Station after its operating life is extended until 2030, by carefully pushing it into Earth's atmosphere before falling over the ocean.  What is the alternative? The possibility of Russia withdrawing from the International Space Station or relinquishing its role in it is not the result of the current crisis. In 2014, the United States banned cooperation with Russia in space activities outside the International Space Station, after the latter invaded Crimea, and instructed companies to stop using Russian rocket engines. It was then that Rogozin quipped that NASA could use a trampoline to get to the station.  The situation today is different from what it was a few years ago, after the American space company SpaceX became providing services for transporting astronauts and equipment to the International Space Station. Owner Elon Musk, in response to Rogozin's recent tweets, expressed his company's readiness to compensate for the Russian role in the International Space Station.  All of this means that the United States and other partners must consider alternatives if Russia suddenly jumps aboard. NASA and its other partners in the International Space Station have - according to experts - the ability to come up with an emergency solution before the station becomes in danger or becomes a danger in itself.  NASA is already exploring other payment options; A US spacecraft currently moored at the International Space Station is scheduled to test some orbit boosting motions in April.  In the meantime, the International Space Station is still quietly roaming the skies of the Earth, far from the noise of wars and crises. The Russian "Zarya" unit carried out a light boost to the station after Rogozin's latest warnings.

The United States and other partners should consider alternatives if Russia suddenly jumps aboard.

In the midst of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Dmitry Rogozin, Director of the Russian Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS) stated that Western sanctions against his country could lead to the downing of the International Space Station; This sparked controversy over the station's future in the form of Russia's withdrawal or abandoning its role in the international project.

These statements came after US President Joe Biden announced new sanctions against Russia targeting its aviation industry, including its space program, as well as "sensitive technology" such as semiconductors, communications and avionics.

A reminder or a threat?
In response, Rogozin launched a series of tweets that were described as carrying a veiled threat, saying "Do you want to destroy our cooperation on the International Space Station?, Who will save the International Space Station from uncontrolled chaos, and the fall of (that chaos) on the United States Or Europe?

These comments raised concerns about their significance and what NASA and its European partners would do if the Russians suddenly pulled out of the ISS program.

Most of the reports and analyzes that dealt with these comments agree that the International Space Station is not about to fall, and that Russia cannot press a button to drop it or take it out of orbit at an altitude of more than 400 km above the Earth's surface.

Rogozin may be referring mostly to the fact that the space station is currently dependent on Russian propulsion systems to maintain its altitude in orbit, and was apparently threatening to withdraw these services if sanctions affected the International Space Station, according to a report published on the website "The Atlantic" ( The Atlantic) Atlantic ) American news.

Although NASA confirmed in a statement that it will continue to work "with all of our international partners - including the Russian space agency Roscosmos - for the continued safe operations of the International Space Station," it is unclear how long NASA and its partners can maintain working relationships. With Russia without being affected by the repercussions of the crisis on the ground.

Russia's role in the space station
According to researcher Wendy Whitman Cope, professor of strategic and security studies at the American Air University, the International Space Station, which was co-founded by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada, is an ideal model for how countries can cooperate in major projects in space. The station has been continuously occupied for more than 20 years and has hosted more than 250 people from 19 countries.

Several agreements and regulations have been put in place to ensure that the 16-section space station built by different countries can operate smoothly while being operated by 5 different space agencies.

Although the station is run as a whole through the Multilateral Coordination Council, things become more complicated when it comes to the units themselves that are legally treated as if they were territorial extensions of their countries of origin, according to the article in a recent published by a space expert on the website "The Conversation" ( The Conversation ).

Russian units are among the essential parts of the international station. The Zarya unit, for example, provides electricity and propulsion for the station and adjusts its trajectory to lift it to a higher orbit or to avoid collisions with other objects in space. The Zvezda unit plays a major role in all life support systems of the plant such as oxygen production and water recycling.

It also highlights the importance of the Russian role in continuing to operate the station through the almost total reliance - since the United States abandoned the space shuttle program - on Russian Soyuz missiles to transport astronauts, supplies and equipment to the station.

These rockets are also supposed to help shut down the International Space Station after its operating life is extended until 2030, by carefully pushing it into Earth's atmosphere before falling over the ocean.

What is the alternative?
The possibility of Russia withdrawing from the International Space Station or relinquishing its role in it is not the result of the current crisis. In 2014, the United States banned cooperation with Russia in space activities outside the International Space Station, after the latter invaded Crimea, and instructed companies to stop using Russian rocket engines. It was then that Rogozin quipped that NASA could use a trampoline to get to the station.

The situation today is different from what it was a few years ago, after the American space company SpaceX became providing services for transporting astronauts and equipment to the International Space Station. Owner Elon Musk, in response to Rogozin's recent tweets, expressed his company's readiness to compensate for the Russian role in the International Space Station.

All of this means that the United States and other partners must consider alternatives if Russia suddenly jumps aboard. NASA and its other partners in the International Space Station have - according to experts - the ability to come up with an emergency solution before the station becomes in danger or becomes a danger in itself.

NASA is already exploring other payment options; A US spacecraft currently moored at the International Space Station is scheduled to test some orbit boosting motions in April.

In the meantime, the International Space Station is still quietly roaming the skies of the Earth, far from the noise of wars and crises. The Russian "Zarya" unit carried out a light boost to the station after Rogozin's latest warnings.
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