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Russian Bluster Aside, What Will Become Of The ISS?

Posted in Science on 20th May, 2014 06:06 PM by AlexMuller

Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin announced on May 13 that his country will end cooperation on the International Space Station after 2020.  The comments spurred gloomy headlines: “Russia's retaliation could doom Space Station,” wrote one science news outlet, while NBC News ran with “Russia Makes Plans to Kill Space Station in 2020.”


What many accounts have missed is that the station's fate past 2020 has never been assured. The ISS, first launched in 1998, is nearing the end of its functional life, with many parts of the station's structure deteriorating after enduring decades of extreme heat and cold.
Left in orbit, it could turn into dangerous space junk.  So the plan has long been to destroy the ISS by means of a controlled re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and a crash into the ocean.
In 2010, the international station management team began advocating an extension of the International Space Station's operations from 2020 to 2028, a year that would coincide with the 30th anniversary of the launch and connection of its initial two sections, Russia's Zarya and the U.S.A's Unity.
Earlier this year, the Obama administration approved an extension to 2024. It's unclear how either plan will fare, technologically or financially, if the Putin government makes good on its latest statements.

Tags: spaceISSNASARussia

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Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-05-21
It is dangerous to mix scientific and technical issues with political ones. ISS was valued for its cooperation and working together not just for its mission goals with respect to exploration. Now this aspect of cooperation should be put aside and ISS judged on its delivery plans and costs Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-05-21
As expected from a long history of relationship between US and Russia, political scene is going to influence cooperation in science and technology - bad news for everyone looking at more general picture and long term. In this specific situation this is a great opportunity for SpaceX Reply


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