Russia: Sanctions Imperil Future of Space Station

US, other nations' agencies ignored a deadline for lifting penalties
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 2, 2022 3:00 PM CDT
Russia: Sanctions Imperil Future of Space Station
Rescue team members carry NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei on Wednesday shortly after the landing of the Russian Soyuz MS-19 space capsule southeast of the Kazakh town of Zhezkazgan.   (Irina Spektor, Roscosmos Space Agency via AP)

(Newser) – The head of Russia's space program said Saturday that the future of the International Space Station hangs in the balance after the US, the European Union, and Canadian space agencies missed a deadline to meet Russian demands for lifting sanctions on Russian enterprises and hardware. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, told reporters that the state agency is preparing a report on the prospects of international cooperation at the station to be presented to federal authorities, the AP reports.

Rogozin implied on Russian state TV that the Western sanctions, some of which predate Russia's invasion of Ukraine, could disrupt the operation of Russian spacecraft servicing the ISS with cargo flights. Russia also sends manned missions to the space station. He stressed that the Western partners need the space station and "cannot manage without Russia, because no one but us can deliver fuel to the station." Rogozin added that "only the engines of our cargo craft are able to correct the ISS’s orbit, keeping it safe from space debris."

Rogozin later Saturday wrote on his Telegram channel that he received responses from his Western counterparts vowing to promote "further cooperation on the ISS and its operations." Space is one of the last remaining areas of cooperation between Moscow and Western nations. US-Russian negotiations on the resumption of joint flights to the space station were underway when Russia attacked Ukraine last month, prompting unprecedented sanctions on Russian state-linked entities. So far the US and Russia are still cooperating in space: A NASA astronaut caught a Russian ride back to Earth on Wednesday after a US record 355 days at the International Space Station, returning with two cosmonauts.

(Read more International Space Station stories.)

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