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Space


International Space Station (ISS)

Russia will end its participation in the International Space Station after it reaches the end of its planned lifespan in 2024, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov confirmed. Moscow was already working on a new station to replace the current one. Moscow will “notify [partnering countries] about its withdrawal from the ISS starting from 2025,” Borisov told TV channel Rossiya-1 on 18 April 2021. He added that the country would hold consultations with other nations about future cooperation once the station ceased to function.

The deputy prime minister’s office told the TASS news agency that “reports of malfunctions have become more frequent in recent times,” and an inspection of the ISS is required to avoid possible emergencies. Astronauts have struggled to fix air leaks, due to cracks appearing in some of the modules. Vladimir Solovyev, the deputy head of Energia, which led the development of the ISS on Russia’s behalf, said in November that several elements of the station had been damaged beyond replacement and would be shut down after 2025. Energia is currently working on the Russia Orbital Space Station that is set to replace the ISS.

"We have a deadline for our work at the station, agreed upon with our ISS partners, 2024. After that deadline, a decision will be made, based on the technical condition of the station's modules, which are by and large worn out, as well as our plans about deploying a national next-generation orbital service station", Roscosmos said.

The first element of the ISS was launched in 1998. The station’s lifespan was eventually extended to 2020 and later to 2024. The head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said last year that after the ISS stops functioning, Progress cargo spacecraft will pull it from orbit. The ISS will then descend into the ocean the same way Russia’s Mir space station did back in 2001.

On March 15, 1993, RSA Director General Yu.N. Koptev and NPO Energia Designer General Yu.P. Semenov presented to NASA Administrator D. Goldin a proposal to create an International Space Station. On September 2, 1993, the Chairman of the Russian Federation Governement V.S. Chernomyrdin and US Vice-president A. Gore signed a Joint Declaration on Cooperation in Space, which, among other things, envisaged creating a joint space station. It was followed up with a Detailed Work Plan for the International Space Station developed by RSA and NASA and signed by them on November 1, 1993. This opened the way for signing in June 1994 a contract between RSA and NASA on Deliveries and Services for Mir and International Space Station.

Russia's government extended a space cooperation agreement with the United States until 2030, one of the few remaining partnerships between Moscow and Washington amid spiraling relations. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved and signed the extension on 04 April 2021, the government said in a statement. The original cooperation agreement, signed in 1992 and extended four times previously, laid the groundwork for wide-ranging, space-related projects and research between NASA and Roskosmos, the two countries' space agencies. That has included joint work on the International Space Station, and Russia's ferrying of astronauts and supplies and equipment to and from the orbiting station. Following the U.S. decision to ground its space-shuttle fleet, Russia's Soyuz and Progress spacecraft became the sole means of transport to get to the station.

The International Space Station (ISS) Program’s greatest accomplishment is as much a human achievement as it is a technological one—how best to plan, coordinate, and monitor the varied activities of the Program’s many organizations. An international partnership of space agencies provides and operates the elements of the ISS. The principals are the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The ISS has been the most politically complex space exploration program ever undertaken.

The International Space Station Program brings together international flight crews, multiple launch vehicles, globally distributed launch, operations, training, engineering, and development facilities; communications networks, and the international scientific research community. Elements launched from different countries and continents are not mated together until they reach orbit, and some elements that have been launched later in the assembly sequence were not yet built when the first elements were placed in orbit.

Operating the space station is even more complicated than other space flight endeavors because it is an international program. Each partner has the primary responsibility to manage and run the hardware it provides. Construction, assembly and operation of the International Space Station requires the support of facilities on the Earth managed by all of the international partner agencies and countries involved in the program.

These include construction facilities, launch support and processing facilities, mission operations support facilities, research and technology development facilities and communications facilities. Launched in 1998 and involving the U.S., Russia, Canada, Japan, and the participating countries of the European Space Agency—the International Space Station is one of the most ambitious international collaborations ever attempted. The largest space station ever constructed, the ISS continues to be assembled in orbit. It has been visited by astronauts from 18 countries—and counting.

The Russian crew at the International Space Station wil be curtailed to two cosmonauts from the current three cosmonauts as of spring 2017, and would remain curtailed until the commissioning of a Multirole Laboratory Module (MLM), which was scheduled for the end of 2017. In case the endorsed schedule is observed and the MLM gets into operation in December 2017, the curtailment will affect only one Russian crew. Otherwise the practice of curtailment will continue until the commissioning of the module.

The Russian state space corporation Roscosmos downsized the ISS mission crew as the number of Progress cargo ships launched to the ISS annually will be reduced to three from four at present in the wake of NASA's refusal to continue using the Progresses and to change over to new US cargo carriers instead. Three Progress flights a year is not enough to support three cosmonauts working at the ISS permanently. Should the third place on the Soyuz become vacant, the procedure for replacement of the crews may change and a young Russian cosmonaut may go into space with a visiting crew for a period of several days.

In this connection, the Russian missile corporation Energiya is developing a new cargo ship that will have a greater payload. As part of the crew cuttailment plan, Roscomos may swap the crews due to go into space in March and in May.

The International Space Station (ISS) often reports breakdowns, radiation damaging its hull, and the threat of malignant bacteria. Nevertheless, late last year the national participants signed an agreement to prolong the space station's work until 2024. Russian scientists say the space station is in relatively good condition, and it's even possible to continue functioning until 2028.

A multifunctional laboratory module (MLM) will be sent to the ISS in 2017-2018, which will give Russia its own space laboratory. Currently, the country's lab is situated within its residential module. Meanwhile in the U.S., the SpaceX company has built the Dragon V2 four-seat spaceship, while Boeing made the CST-100 Starliner for the ISS. The billions of dollars spent on these projects will not be recouped without prolonging the space station's life. In the future, these spaceships are expected to be used for commercial transportation.

Officially, the space station's longevity is tied to the life of the Zvezda service module that Russian engineers originally built for the Mir-2 station. In 2028 that module's service period will expire. If the Zvezda module is rated as useless, then the entire space station will have to be terminated. In that case, just like the Mir station, the ISS will be sunk in the Pacific Ocean.

The Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) will be fully completed in 2022. It was then that the station of the last of the three modules, which is scheduled to launch from 2019 to 2022, will be included in the station, said the chief designer - First Deputy General Director of RSC Energia, Evgeny Mikrin, on 19 November 2018 at a conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the ISS. According to TASS , Mikrin clarified that the three new modules are a multifunctional laboratory module (to be launched in 2019), a nodal module (2020), a scientific and energy module (2022).

The manned program of the Russian Federation now has two tasks, Mikrin added. The first is to expand the range of scientific research on the ISS, which has not yet exhausted its resources. The operation of the station can be extended until 2028-2030, the expert stressed. The second task - flying into deep space. “But here, I would only limit myself to the lunar program,” he said. The scientific-practical conference “Cosmonautics: an open space of international cooperation and development”, dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station, was held at the Center for Cosmonautics and Aviation at the VDNH. The conference was opened by the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin. Representatives of Roscosmos, foreign space agencies, cosmonauts and astronauts, designers and rocket planners take part in the event.

Some elements of the International Space Station are seriously damaged and cannot be replaced; after 2025, "an avalanche-like failure of numerous elements on board the ISS is expected," said Vladimir Solovyov , Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, First Deputy General Director of RSC Energia, on 27 Nocember 2020. The obligations to participate in the program should be waived after they expire in 2025. Priority should be given to the program of the Russian visited space station, which can be in orbit for a long time without a crew, Solovyov said.

Many elements of the ISS are worn out, damaged and cannot be replaced. The expenses for further financing of the ISS in 10-15 billion rubles are too high. Russia should "reconsider the terms of further participation in the program and focus on the implementation of the programs of orbital stations." These programs should be based on the new type of stations visited.

He also stated that, according to Energia experts, after 2025 the costs of maintaining the ISS will not allow adequate use of the station and the project should not be extended for a longer period. “According to RSC Energia's estimates, the spending on further (after 2025 - IF) financing, which is estimated at 10-15 billion rubles, is too large. Soloviev.

In turn, the press service of Roscosmos reported that the state corporation has not yet made a final decision on the timing of completion of participation in the ISS project and the construction of its own station. "The question of the ISS's operating life depends both on the technical (technical condition of its modules and design resource) and on political issues discussed with partners. One way or another, we plan to start consultations with NASA and other partners on these topics early next year." , - said the press service.




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Page last modified: 24-04-2021 17:21:52 ZULU