Russia’s cooperation with China on the upcoming space station looks promising despite the decision to build its own: experts

Photograph of the International Space Station file. Photo: Xinhua

Russia will withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS) after reaching the planned lifespan of 2024 and is working on a new station to replace it, Russian media reported on Sunday.

Chinese observers have said Russia’s decision to build its own space station is in line with its own principle of developing the aerospace industry, but will not overlook the possibility of cooperating on the upcoming Chinese space station, as the spacecraft may be the only orbit operating station to be opened to foreign partners. withdrawal of the ISS.

Russia announced on Sunday that it would end its participation in the ISS project after the expiration of the current agreement in 2024, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said.

He said the ISS’s “condition leaves much to be desired” as a number of technical malfunctions are intensifying, Russian media RT reported on Sunday.

Russian cosmonauts have struggled in recent years to fix the air leak, RT reported, due to cracks appearing on some modules on the ISS. The first module of the station was launched in 1998, and its lifespan was extended twice, first from 2015 to 2020, and later until 2024.

Vladimir Solovyov, a senior official working on the development of the Russian ISS module, said that several elements of the station were damaged without replacement. “After 2025, we predict an avalanche failure of numerous elements on the ISS ship,” he told the Russian Academy of Sciences, local media reported.

The replacement, called the Russian Orbital Space Station, or ROSS, will consist of three to seven modules. Soloviev announced last October that it is expected to contain a basic module, a production module, a logistics cabin, a platform for assembly, launch and repair, and a commercial cabin that can accommodate four space tourists.

Chinese space experts said that Russia’s decision to build its own space station is in line with its tradition in the aviation industry, and pointed to the country’s technical ability as an advanced aviation pioneer for the development of crafts.

However, Wang Ya’nan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, expressed concern about the project’s funding because “Russia has already put forward ambitious plans in the next few years to conduct lunar exploration and a Mars mission,” he told Global. Times.

Observers added that, although Moscow decided that on its own, it did not close the door for future cooperation on the upcoming Chinese space station, which should be operational by 2022.

“There will be a void for ISS participants after it expires in 2024 and they will look for a new place to send astronauts and projects. The Chinese space station until then may have been the only one to work in orbit, and China has shown open an attitude that welcomes the embarkation of foreign partners, ”Wang noted.

In June 2019, the Chinese Office of Space Engineering selected the first series of scientific experiments to be delivered to the Chinese space station. Projects from 17 countries were approved, including Russia, Belgium, Kenya, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Despite Moscow’s decision to continue on its own, Roscosmos also reiterated its commitment to welcoming international cooperation. In March, he signed a lunar exploration agreement with China to jointly build a lunar exploration station.