Roscosmos Announced Plans for New Space Station to Go Into Orbit by 2025
It appears that the Russians have an aspiring plan to change their orbiting home before the ISS is set to wind down operations, as they are already planning a new space station that should be ready to launch by 2025. ‘Roscosmos’, the Russian space agency, has stated that while they’re not abandoning the ISS program just yet, they are seriously concerned about the 22 years it is already carrying on its back, and soon, the equation involving life risks and scientific benefits won’t add up.
This is undeniably underpinned by the ongoing political tensions between the entire west and the Russian state, so while it hasn’t been put forth in the relevant announcements, one cannot perceive international scientific cooperation as an independent and totally unaffected element. However, that is not to say that ISS isn’t aging or that the purported concerns are fabricated.
The ISS was initially going to reach the end of the road in 2024, but with no feasible replacement plan in the works by any of the other participants, the decision to extend its life to 2030 was taken, albeit heavily. The current funding however is only covering the costs until 2025, so nothing is certain at this point. The orbit of the ISS is expected to continue to decay until it reaches a critical point when it’ll start falling back to Earth. This is estimated to happen between 2030 and 2050.
The question now is whether the Russians will be willing to share their new space station and welcome astronauts from other countries, especially the United States, and up to what point. Already, we saw the Russians rejecting the idea of joining the NASA-planned “Lunar Gateway” project, so things look bleak.
We really hope that the end of the ISS won’t mark the definite end of the global scientific collaboration that was fueled by its existence, but for now, the big players are heading in different directions.