back to article Russia's new space chief confirms it will leave ISS after 2024

Hopes that the departure of Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin from Roscosmos will improve global space relations have been crushed. New boss Yuri Borisov today confirmed a post-2024 withdrawal from the International Space Station project. It isn't the first time this particular saber has been rattled. In 2021, Roscosmos …

  1. lglethal Silver badge

    Considering Roscosmos's budget, the plans to build their own space station seem on par with that of a snowball in hell. But then again considering the Russian level of concern for their troops on the ground in Ukraine, if they consider the lives of their cosmonauts on the similar level, then you know removing all that safety stuff should make it considerably cheaper...

    1. Binraider Silver badge

      Russia has plenty A-bombs lying around. They might want to revisit the US's Project Orion... (Which also featured in the bonkers sci-fi novel Footfall).

  2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Russian mir

    They should think of how to get population to have access to a toilet and running water, but I guess it is easier to defraud money through building a fake space station, that nobody will be able to inspect.

    1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

      Re: Russian mir

      They could perhaps take lessons from Flint, Michigan on drinking water.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Russian mir

      "hat nobody will be able to inspect."

      You can see it with the naked eye. A good pair of binoculars or a telescope should prove to you what it actually is in some level of detail. Unless, of course, you think the binocular and telescope manufacturers are also in on the conspiracy.

  3. jpo234

    "after 2024" is a long time and includes 2030, the year the US plans to decommision the ISS.

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    NASA says "we've heard nothing official"

    The Russian gasbags have said this on social media several times before, and I think they realize it'll make them look like luddites if they actually do it. It'll be seen as an "admission" that their part of the station couldn't go the distance.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: NASA says "we've heard nothing official"

      It'll be seen as an "admission" that their part of the station couldn't go the distance.

      Why would you think that? Russia has been building and flying space stations long before the US/West did. Problem at the moment is there's... not exactly a spirit of co-operation between ISS partners, plus the ISS approaching EOL.

      But then given the costs, and the potential benefits to humanity, a joint station in orbit, or on the Moon would seem like a better idea. In the current political and economic climate, I suspect that's more likely to be BRICs-in-Space than any NASA/ESA venture.

      Main advantage the West might have is if Starship flies as marketed, given it's potential payload. But that would assume NASA/ESA could afford to build their own replacement given costs and resource limitations. Which kinda makes me wonder how the cost assumptions around Starship launches are looking given current gas prices.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: NASA says "we've heard nothing official"

        I don't see why NASA, JAXA, ESA and Canada couldn't afford another space station. They mostly paid for the last one, and their economies have only grown since doing so. $100 billion over 25 years wasn't nothing - but it's also peanuts compared to their total government spending. After all, much of the original purpose for the ISS was to subisidise ex-Soviet rocket scientists to stay in Russia building Soyuz - rather than heading off to Iran or North Korea's missile programs. Of course there was also some post Cold War cooperation in their too. But in the early days it was about putting money into Roscosmos to keep it going.

        As for BRICS in Space, only China and India aren't in serious financial trouble amongst that lot. And they're not really a coherent grouping anyway. India and China are rather more likely to have a border war in the next 30 years than they are to co-fund a space station.

        Russia have experience and technology in space stations that's better than China though - so there's certainly room for a cooperative effort there. But Russian government spending is going to have other priorities. Even if they win in Ukraine (spoiler: they won't) they've taken massive casualties and lost vast amounts of equipment that's going to need replacing. Plus some quite painful sanctions and they're not going to be making much money selling gas (their oil revenues should be broadly fine) - and those two are where a large chunk of Russia's government finances come from. Building pipelines to China for that gas that used to ship to Europe will take years and China will not pay as well either - it struck a hard bargain with the last big gas pipeline and will have no reason to be generous this time.

        So China may take the opportunity to share in that technology, but that would mean sharing some of the glory. Or they may prefer to carry on with a relatively modest budget, working at their own speed and keeping it as a national project to show how "wonderful" the Party are. Which I suspect is what they'll do. I've just had a quick Google and there's disagreement but China's annual space budget appears to be something between $5-$9 billion. So about 0.3 - 0.4% of GDP. However it is an area where they could practically cooperate with the Russians as a way to cement their alliance - without China actually doing things that risk Western sanctions on Russia also hitting them. So it's possible.

  5. jeff_w87

    How about...

    If you want to keep it flying how about planning on replacing the Russian modules with modules built elsewhere (either government or commercial). It won't be easy or cheap, but it's probably cheaper than trying to build a brand new space station from scratch.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: How about...

      Zarya is right in the middle of everything.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: How about...

        The whole ISS is built around the Zvezda module, which was the core piece of equipment that was being intended for Mir 2. Everything, all of the other space agency modules, attach to that.

        It really is a shame it's come to this. It's been successful, but Putler thinks he knows best. They have about as much hope of putting their own space station in orbit than I do of jumping off the building I'm in and flying to New York by just flapping my arms really fast.

        I think they have some idea or hope that the Chinese will want to join up with them, but the Chinese are sound. They have the money, they are fast getting the expertise needed, all Russia will be good for will be a bit of gas and some petrol. That's it.

        1. Zolko Silver badge

          Re: How about...

          They have about as much hope of putting their own space station in orbit ...

          are you aware that the Russians have been building space station after space station, while the only US-made space-station (Skylab) never really worked ? And that the ISS is actually a US beg to piggyback on the next Russian space station ? And that for years the US couldn't go into space without the Russians, and needed a South-African billionaire to re-build space capabilities ?

          The success of "western" brainwashing is quite worrying.

          1. wolfetone Silver badge

            Re: How about...

            Me saying that the Russians have no hope of putting their own space station in orbit does not praise western space station design.

            Look at what has happened in Ukraine, the Russians couldn't even get the tyres on their trucks to not degrade in the bit of mud they had. Their flagship aircraft carrier is in port at the moment because it's engines are completely FUBAR'ed because they don't have the infrastructure to power ships in dock. So they run the engines 24/7, which means while the ship has been operational for 20/30 years, the engine is completely cream crackered already.

            The USSR had a great track record of putting stations in to orbit, more so than any other country. That's a historical fact. What is also historical fact is that the USSR threw money at their space program in order to achieve it.

            What Russia has now is a shell of it's former supremacy. Roscosmos has a fraction of the budget their USSR counterparts enjoyed when they were throwing Mir up in to the sky. It's no coincidence that Mir's failures concertinaed after the dissolution of the USSR, when Roscosmos hadn't a pot to piss in.

            So when I say they have no hope, it's not based on a western ideology that the west do it better. When I say they have no hope, it's based on their accountants scrambling down the back of the sofa for a few extra roubles for a coffee.

          2. Casca Bronze badge

            Re: How about...

            Soviet built all that. Not the current russia...

          3. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: How about...

            "while the only US-made space-station (Skylab) never really worked ?"

            In what way didn't it work? Most of the goals set for it were achieved, but it died prematurely mostly through politics.

            The Skylab program used basically left over Apollo program hardware and at the start of the program it was already known that it was unlikely they'd ever get more than 4 or maybe 5 missions. The one Saturn 5 was used to launch the lab itself (which was based on the second stage of the S1B) and one S1B was designated for a rescue mission for the first and last missions but ultimately never used (It's the S1B on display at the KSC)

            By the time the skylab program was flying, the decision to build and use the space shuttle had already been made. A second/backup Skylab was built but it was decided not to launch it and use the funds for the SLS. There wasn't enough funding for another batch of Saturn/Apollo program hardware that would have been required to continue skylab as it was. The only failure I can think of is that they didn't get the lab boosted to a high enough orbit during or after the last mission to keep it orbiting until the Shuttle was flying. Delays in the shuttle program meant that by the time the shuttle flew for the first time, Skylab was already orbited. Skylab itself was too big to fly in the shuttle. All subsequent space station plans got cancelled, re-imagined, changed, renegotiated, pork-barreled and politicized until finally the US sections of the ISS emerged from the ashes with enough support to actually make it happen. Had the ISS not happened they might have built something very similar looking (see Space Station Freedom)

            The US seems to never really have had any big space station goals or intentions and a lot of what the soviets investigated on their Salyut stations, NASA did during with other vehicles (Apollo and Space Shuttle mainly). Manned space stations never really got that much attention during the cold war on the US side.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: How about...

              hmmmm, I honor my nickname. Where it says SLS, read STS (Spaceshuttle). It was the previous senate boondoggle, not the current senate boondoggle. Got my TLAs confused there.

            2. MonsieurTM

              Re: How about...

              A reason Skylab failed is that it was effectively unable to be re-supplied as the only vehicles that could reach it were the Apollo vehicles. They were only designed to transport humans to the Moon, so were over-built and incorrectly tailored for low-Earth orbit use. They had no resupply capacity. They had no emergency evacuation capability. Skylab was a technological dead-end, based upon the inappropriately-tuned (for low Earth orbit) use of the Apollo system.

              It was a dangerous white elephant, sadly.

        2. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: How about...

          Then again.

          Does anyone really think they're going to come and take "their" bits away?

          Even if they can turn them off, we just bypass their kill switch and fire 'em back up. If they bleat about rights and ownership, we just tell the two-faced sods to look in the mirror.

          1. Valeyard

            Re: How about...

            "it's legitimate salvage!"

          2. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: How about...

            Zvezda is officially owned by NASA (I'm not sure on the ownership of the other Russian modules), but it's unlikely Russia would try to take their bits back as the only thing they could currently do with them would be to deorbit the Russian segments which serves no-one. Worst case the other international partners pay a small tithe to buy the modules from Roscosmos/Russia.

            The biggest problem will be upkeep of these segments. NASA and the other ISS partners know more or less how everything works and how it's constructed, but not having Orlan suits in the Russian segment (doubt they'd leave those ) means they lose a convenient airlock for spacewalk access to that part of the station. IIRC the US suits won't fit through the Russian airlock (nor does it have the right support equipment). There's a lot of stuff in the Russian modules that the ISS currently depends on that could break, and that the Western ISS partners aren't set up for producing. That would mean either paying the Russians for parts (likely through the nose) or potentially encountering problems that could make the station far less habitable. I suspect there's a good chance that if it DOES go that way, NASA will go all hands on deck to come up with a way of undocking (and de-orbiting) the Russian segments from the station.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: How about...

              NASA or ESA may also have to provide a fresh "lifeboat" too. Depends on whether Russia use theirs to evacuate after their final mission or if it's EOL (fuel/lubricants/consumables likely have a relatively short life)

              1. imanidiot Silver badge

                Re: How about...

                Depends on how large of a crew they want. Dragon can carry up to 7 but astronauts but NASA currently only wants 4 seats installed. They could easily up that to 5 seats, which is probably about the crew compliment they'd want to support if Russia does indeed leave the station. The entire crew could then fit in a single vehicle. There's also enough ports available that they could theoretically have 2 crew dragons docked. Especially if Axiom does indeed at some point include their own docking port in their planned sections (IF the Axiom station parts ever actually happen, which I doubt)

        3. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: How about...

          A lot of far Eastern Russia is full of Chinese migrant workers. Cultural tensions there are already a thing, and in fact it is entirely plausible that it could escalate.

          My money's on China if (when?) It kicks off.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: How about...

            My money's on China if (when?) It kicks off.

            Most of Russia's Siberian forces are now bogged down in Ukraine, and have taken some of the highest casualties. So if the Chinese were feeling frisky, now would be their time.

            But Russia's got an awful lot of nukes. Quite a few of them based in Siberia too. And it would be a shame to just leave them lying around to be captured - when they could be used up first... So I doubt invading Russia is in anyone's plans.

            Plus with sanctions on Russia, China can buy lots of those lovely Siberian resources super-cheap. Why fight for what you can buy for peanuts?

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: How about...

          "jumping off the building I'm in and flying to New York by just flapping my arms really fast."

          Is that laden of unladen?

      2. PeterM42

        Re: How about...

        Zarya is right in the middle of everything. - Oh! SHHHHHHHITTTTTTT!

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Binraider Silver badge

    Presumably, unless the Proton production line is re-opened (unlikely); ambitions in this sector are dependent on Angara.

    While it is most definitely a development vehicle at this stage; 3 successful launches out of 5 is not especially a good ratio for what is supposed to be a well understood problem.

    I could absolutely see Russia doing a co-operation deal with China to spread the risk somewhat. China probably could find uses for the extra lifting capability of Angara over the Long March 5. (~24 tonnes vs. 15 tonnes, if googleable figures are to be believed).

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    Any chance LOHAN will launch before 2024?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: LOHAN

      I don't think we'll ever see LOHAN fly. With the sad loss of Lester Haines I don't think there's been any movement in the project since.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: LOHAN

        Would be an awful shame if it never flies. It'd be a great tribute to Mr.Haines if it were to fly.

        What's needed to get it going? Shirley we can get it off the ground?

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: LOHAN

          Due to the nature of the project the only "easy" place to make it happen would have been the US (specifically there had been talks with Spaceport America, NM. A ballockeplane project like LOHAN however requires (iirc and afaik) special permits from the FAA. The paperwork for such had been submitted to the FAA but disappeared in the swamp of bureaucracy. There was some sounds that things were happening in the background but we never got any details. Reading between the lines there also seems to have been some friction with Spaceport Amerika over them supporting and then not supporting the project. I have suspicions that with the passing of Lester the paperwork got thrown out as the leader of the project and the name on the papers was no longer around. More importantly I suspect there simply isn't anyone with the knowledge and contacts of Lester to lead the project, pull the proverbial cart and make it happen.

  9. MonsieurTM

    I am *extremely* disappointed by this alarmist-reporting. It is a KNOWN fact tact that the Zaraya module is "beyond its sell-by date". I cannot believe that NASA are so incompetent that they do not know this already (in fact Roscosmos and NASA have been in discussion over how to upgrade the Zaraya module over the years, so NASA well knows of this problem.) Therefore it IS totally unsurprising that Roscosmos have announce that they WILL STAY with the ISS until at least 2024. (As that is EXACTLY what "leave after 2024 means.)

    All of the components of the ISS are nearing end-of-life. The Russian segment is more upgrade-able and serviceable than the International portion due to the design of the modules.

    Conflating Rogozin's foolish blusterings with solid engineering is beneath El Reg.

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