EarthSky’s Launches blog brings you the best in spaceflight updates.
August 19, 2022 Launches update: Russians unveil space station model
Officials at the Russian space agency Roscosmos seem conflicted about the country’s future on the International Space Station (ISS). In July, the newly appointed head of Roscosmos – Yury Borisov – said Russia would cease its participation in the ISS beyond 2024. In early August, other Roscosmos officials put the brakes on, saying Russia wasn’t going anywhere until it had its own space station. Then on Monday (August 15, 2022) – at “Army-2022”, a military-industrial exhibition outside Moscow – Russia unveiled a model of the new station it intends to build for itself.
As reported by Reuters, the proposed Russian space station is the Russian Orbital Service Station, called ROSS by Russian state media. And, Reuters said, Roscosmos will launch the station in two segments, the first of which will orbit no later than 2030, but perhaps as soon as 2025 or 2026. The second stage would launch between 2030 and 2035.
ROSS is still largely in the design stage, and when complete will be staffed only part of the time. Roscosmos’ former head suggested ROSS could also serve in a military capacity. Reuters also shared a video of the unveiling.
We reported on Borisov’s statement Russia would leave ISS by 2024 via Launches for the week of August 8. But other officials within Russia’s space agency later contradicted Borisov’s statement, and NASA has said Russia has not officially informed its partners of a plan to depart. Reuters gives the reasoning behind Russia’s pending withdrawal:
Russia, in the throes of what some Kremlin hardliners believe is an historic rupture with the West sparked by sanctions imposed over what Moscow calls its ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, is rushing to reduce its dependency on Western nations and forge ahead on its own or cooperate with countries like China and Iran.
NASA and the other ISS partner nations intend to keep the ISS in orbit through 2030.
Bottom line: On August 15, 2022 – at “Army-2022”, a military-industrial exhibition outside Moscow – Russia unveiled a model of the new station it intends to build for itself.