Spaceflight Now reports that Russia will separate its modules from the International Space Station to build its own base.
Russia’s space program — as described in the Roscosmos press release — will include a series of robotic missions to lunar orbit and the surface of the moon in the 2020s in preparation for a visit by cosmonauts in the 2030s.
A view of the International Space Station’s main power truss. Credit: ESA/NASA/Samantha Cristoforetti.
Russia plans to stay part of the International Space Station partnership until 2024, then undock its modules to create a standalone base in orbit, the Russian space agency announced Tuesday.
A statement posted to the Russian space agency’s website said a meeting of the Roscosmos science and technical council considered Russia’s future human spaceflight plans, favoring the continued use of the International Space Station until 2024.
Then Russia plans to remove its modules from the International Space Station to form an all-Russian complex in orbit.
The statement said “a configuration of a multi-purpose laboratory module, a (docking) node module, and a scientific power module creates a promising Russian space station to meet the challenges of providing secure access to space (for Russia).”
Russia’s participation in the space station program beyond 2020 has been in doubt since government officials said they were reviewing whether to drop out of the global partnership in the wake of Western sanctions against Russia, which were prompted by the country’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014.
Russian officials are still finalizing other objectives for its space program from 2016 to 2025 as Russian industry begins consolidating into a government-owned enterprise, a move the country’s leadership says will raise worker wages and improve reliability.
Western sanctions against Russia erected hurdles in the path of what was expected to be a smooth decision in favor of extending the country’s use of the 450-ton orbital laboratory, according to Alexei Krasnov, head of human spaceflight programs at Roscosmos.
Krasnov told reporters in July that Roscosmos submitted a proposal in early 2014 matching NASA’s decision to extend support of the International Space Station from 2020 to 2024. But he said the outcome of the deliberations would be tinted by developments in Ukraine and the U.S. response to the conflict there.
UPDATE: Added image of the ISS Russian Segment from the Russian Federal Space Agency site.
A tip o’ the hat to The Register.