Russian space agency Roscosmos on Tuesday said that it hoped to launch its own space station in 2025. Moscow is considering withdrawing from the International Space Station programme. Dmitry Rogozin, chief of Roscosmos said work had already begun on the first module of the new space station.
“The first core module of the new Russian orbital station is in the works,” Rogozin said in a statement on messaging app Telegram.
He said Russia’s Energia space corporation was aiming to have the module “ready for launch” in 2025 and released a video of Energia staff at work.
The announcement came with tensions soaring over espionage claims, a Russian troop build-up along Ukraine’s borders and the deteriorating health of President Vladimir Putin’s imprisoned critic Alexei Navalny.
International Space Station (ISS) which is currently in orbit is one of the most ambitious international collaborations in human history.
The ISS was launched in 1998 with co-operation between Russia, the US, Japan, Canada and the European Space Agency.
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said in recent days that Moscow was considering whether to leave the ISS programme from 2025 because of the station’s age.
However, Roscosmos said on Monday that a decision on quitting the ISS had not yet been made.
“When we make a decision we will start negotiations with our partners on forms and conditions of cooperation beyond 2024,” the space agency told AFP in a statement.
Russia lost its monopoly for manned flights to the ISS last year after the first successful mission of US company Space X.
Despite its much-lauded history — Russia this month marked the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first person in orbit — the country’s space programme has struggled in recent years.
(With inputs from agencies)
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