Russia to partner with International Space Station till at least 2028
Washington: Russia may not be leaving the International Space Station (ISS) partnership with US space agency NASA at least till 2028, as hinted earlier, according to a media report.
Yuri Borisov, the new head of Russia's state space corporation Roscosmos, had on Tuesday hinted Russia's withdrawal from the ISS project after 2024 to set up its own space station -- the Russian Orbital Service Station (ROSS).
In a statement, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said that the agency had "not been made aware of decisions from any of the partners" on the ISS.
But on Wednesday, Roscosmos officials updated NASA that they intend to stay till 2028, Reuters reported.
"We're not getting any indication at any working level that anything's changed," Kathy Lueders, NASA's associate administrator for space operations, was quoted as saying.
NASA and Roscosmos have been the two largest partners on the ISS for the last three decades. The two organisations have agreed to work together on the ISS through 2024, but on December 31, last year, the Joe Biden administration committed to extending the ISS operations through 2030.
While Russia did not formally agree to the extension, in January, this year former Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin had said that Roscosmos and NASA are in talks on extending the operation of the ISS until 2030.
But Russia's invasion of Ukraine, beginning February 24, affected space cooperation between the two countries and Roscosmos' participation in the extension started to seem unlikely.
In May, Rogozin said Russia has already made the decision to pull out of the ISS, likely in about two years time. He also stated that due to financial constraints, it was difficult to simultaneously implement the ISS project and build a new station.
Rogozin, known for making wildly outlandish statements and threats against NASA, was fired this month.
The ISS, launched in 1998, will be "de-orbited" in January 2031, according to the NASA's budget estimates.
Once out of orbit, in January 2031, the space station will make a dramatic descent before splash-landing in Point Nemo, which is about 2,700km from any land and has become known as the space cemetery, a final resting place for decommissioned space stations, old satellites and other human space debris.