Russia is planning to inaugurate its own space station with the aim of launching it into orbit by 2030. The head of Roscosmos space agency said on Wednesday that the programme will be in motion as soon as President Vladimir Putin gives the go-ahead.
The project would mark a new chapter for Russian space exploration. It will also mean an end to the close cooperation with the United States aboard the ageing International Space Station (ISS) which stood there for more than two decades.
“If in 2030, in accordance with our plans, we can put it into orbit, it will be a colossal breakthrough,” Interfax news agency quoted Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin saying who further added that “The will is there to take a new step in world manned space exploration.”
Russian cosmonauts have worked with their counterparts from the United States and 16 other countries about the ISS since 1998 which is one of the closest fields of cooperation between Moscow and Washington. However, the relationship between the two sides are currently in deep crisis over human rights, cyberattacks and a range of other issues.
Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told Russian TV during the weekend that Moscow would give notice to its partners that it would leave the ISS project from 2025. Rogozin said the Russian station, unlike the ISS, would most likely not be permanently crewed because its orbit path would expose it to higher radiation. However, the cosmonauts would visit it and it would also use artificial intelligence and robots. He said Russia was ready to consider allowing foreign crews to visit, “but the station must be national… If you want to do well, do it yourself.”
According to Interfax sources, Russia is planning to spend up to $6 billion to get the project launched.