Russia is walking out of the international space station, but it won’t happen immediately as Russian cosmonauts will leave the facility in 12 months.
At the moment 3 of them are working at the ISS, and just a few weeks back, they undertook a spacewalk in which they installed a robotic arm (Made in Europe)
This announcement comes following the western sanctions.
ISS (International Space Station) is a symbol of global cooperation, which orbits the earth 16 times a day at a height of 250 miles from the earth’s crust.
Astronauts from a dozen of different countries have been living since 2000 and mostly Russian and American.
which has now fallen victim to the rivalries on planet earth.
With Russia pulling out it marks the end of an era.
The US, Russia, and ISS
During the cold war, the US and the Soviet Union were in the space race to develop technology and reach the stars first.
On land, Russia and the United States may not depend on each other but despite the tension, space is the only place where the two countries tried to get along.
After USSR put the first satellite (Sputnik) and the first man (Yuri Gagarin) in space and the US landing on the moon there were talks of going to the moon together.
In 1975 this led the two nations to collaborate and develop a docking system.
Soon after the US began its space shuttle program, bringing astronauts and safelights into space in reusable shuttles. USSR was also not behind as it created its space station Mir where cosmonauts can live long term.
At the same time US, Japan, Canada, and several European countries began planning to build their space station together.
The Common Ground
With the fall of the USSR, Us and Russia began peace talks and one of the first things they agreed on was a collaboration in space very soon US shuttle astronauts docked with Mir and Russian cosmonauts joined shuttle launches.
This led to the addition of Russia to the joint station plan.
The first part of the space module went up in 1998 and was designed to be collaborative and interdependent. The Russian module controls the navigation and the US controls most of the power.
1000s of experiments were conducted to learn about diseases, climate change on earth, and whether humans can live in space for the long term.
Everything was going well until 2014 where Russian troops annexed Crimea and the US imposed harsh sanctions on them. Director of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin threatened to pull Russia out of ISS and told the US to send astronauts to space using a trampoline.
Fast forward to today, diplomatic relations between these two countries are at the lowest level
Americans as well as other astronauts continue to travel on Russian shuttles to space as Nasa retired its space vehicles in 2011.
Since then, they’ve been using a Soyuz spacecraft to transport astronauts.
Before Russia withdrew, the United States began using private players like SpaceX, blue origin, etc. to ferry its astronauts and this shift will grow exponentially now.
For the last 10 years, Russian Soyuz has been the only way to go up or come down, but Spacex has stepped up and got many astronauts into the space station and their first mission in 2020 ended the dependence on Russian Soyuz.
Many saw this coming as Russia to has been quietly moving away from the west. The Russian space program is getting closer to China and in 2019 both entities signed an agreement with their first mission was to land on the south pole of the moon.
Two countries plan to set up a base there and want to build their space station.
The war in Ukraine may have confirmed the end of the space station but that end was already planned and what it threatens is the future of these countries to find common ground.
Published By: Aman Gupta
Edited By: Vanshika Sahu