MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is ready to start building its own space station with the goal of launching it into orbit by 2030 if President Vladimir Putin gives the green light, the head of its space agency Roscosmos said on Wednesday.
The project will mark a new chapter for Russian space exploration and the end of more than two decades of close cooperation with the United States on the aging spacecraft of the International Space Station (ISS).
“If we can put it into orbit in 2030, in accordance with our plans, it will be a colossal breakthrough,” Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin was quoted as saying by the news agency. “There is a will for a new step in space exploration with a human crew.”
Russian cosmonauts have worked with colleagues from the United States and 16 other countries on the ISS since 1998 – one of the closest fields of cooperation between Moscow and Washington, whose relations are currently in deep crisis over human rights, cyber attacks and a number of other issues.
Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told Russian television over the weekend that Moscow would inform its partners that it would abandon the 2025 ISS project.
Rogozin said that the Russian station, unlike the ISS, will most likely not have a permanent crew because the trajectory in orbit will expose it to more radiation.
But cosmonauts would visit it, and it would also use artificial intelligence and robots.
He said Russia was ready to consider allowing visits to foreign crews, “but the station must be national … If you want the good, do it yourself.”
Interfax quoted an unnamed source as saying Russia planned to spend up to $ 6 billion to launch the project.
Written by Mark Trevelyan; editing by Jonathan Oatis