NASA says Russia is still ‘moving toward’ extending the space station through 2030

Despite the deteriorating relationship between the United States and Russia here on Earth, Russia is still considering extending its participation in the International Space Station until 2030, according to NASA. However, it could be a few months before there is a solid update on Russia’s official stance.

NASA and the Russian space company Roscosmos have been the two largest partners on the International Space Station for the past three decades. The two organizations have agreed to work together on the ISS until 2024, but late last year the Biden administration announced its plans to extend the space station program until 2030. Russia has not yet formally agreed to the extension.

Roscosmos’ participation in the expansion began to appear unlikely after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. In response to the war, the United States approved Russia’s major industries, sparking outrage from the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin. On Twitter, Rogozin expressed wild threats about the future of the ISS, insinuating that the station on the United States could collapse if Russia pulled out of the program prematurely. He has also hinted at rethinking the partnership with the US in light of sanctions.

But even after all that roar, Roscosmos apparently hasn’t given a hard “no” to overtime and may even go ahead. “All of our international partners, including Roscosmos, are making progress towards expanding the station through 2030,” Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator of space operations, said at a news conference today, adding that every partner on the ISS must continue. a budget process and receive final approval from the government before the extension is instituted. “But we all understand the importance of this ongoing collaboration, even through very, very, very difficult times,” Lueders said.

Joel Montalbano, NASA’s ISS program manager, discussed the potential expansion in Russia with Roscosmos officials as NASA prepared for astronaut Mark Vande Hei’s return on a Russian Soyuz rocket this week. “At the program level, we are continuing the discussions and working our way up to 2030,” Dana Weigel, deputy manager of NASA’s International Space Station program, said at the press conference. “They talked about when Joel Montalbano was in Russia, and no changes to the plan at all.”

Weigel noted that NASA expects the next major update on expansion plans in late April or early May. It is difficult to know what state the relationship between Russia and the United States will be in at that time, but for now there is the possibility that the partnership of the countries in space could continue.

SOURCE – www.theverge.com

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