With tensions over the war in Ukraine and economic strains caused by sanctions, Russia announced Tuesday that it will withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024. The head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos said the company will instead pursue building its own orbital station.
“We will fulfill all our obligations to our partners, but the decision to leave this station after 2024 has been made,” Roscosmos’ new chief, Yury Borisov, said, according to the Washington Post. Citing rising costs and aging equipment, Russia has been discussing exiting the station since at least 2021. The previous head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said Russia’s involvement beyond 2024 would be possible only if U.S. sanctions are lifted.
Three Americans and an Italian astronaut arrived at the space station recently, joining three Americans and three Russians and a German already aboard the station. The ISS represented unprecedented cooperation between 15 countries. The first module was launched by Russia in 1998 and the station has been expanded with additional modules since then. NASA has committed to operate the ISS until at least 2030.