Russia may build its own space station to rival ISS

Russia may build its own space station to rival ISS

By Matthew Humphries Dec. 15, 2014 1:29 pm

The International Space Station is a great example of how different nations can work together to create something pretty awesome. In this case a habitable location orbiting the Earth. And it was made possible by the combined efforts of the US, European, and Russian space agencies. However, growing political tensions could mean we get a second space station, only this one would be a purely Russian affair.

Russia’s actions with regards to Ukraine has seen relations with the West stretched to breaking point and trade sanctions put in place. The crumbling relationship is impacting all areas of government, including those departments working on space tech. With that in mind, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) is starting to view its own alternative to ISS as a real possibility.

Russia’s Mir manned space station orbited the Earth from 1986 to 2001.

Oleg Ostapenko, head of Roscosmos, has confirmed that a Russian space station is currently being considered, and it would likely form a key part of a mission to visit the Moon. It’s not as simple as just greenlighting the project, however. With Russia under trade sanctions and having an economy expected to go into recession in 2015, there may not be enough money available to fund such a project.

Even if a station can’t be built by Russia alone, the Russian government may block plans to extend the life of ISS from 2020 to 2024. Although, it’s unclear what they could actually do beyond protesting if the other parties with an interest in the station decide to ignore them.

ISS has been a success and is widely viewed as a positive creation of man. Space doesn’t belong to any one nation, and it seems right that any future developments of this nature should continue to be collaborations regardless of what’s happening back on Earth. Hopefully that means an eventual, multi-national ISS v2.0.

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