NASA has scheduled the ISS to be decomissioned in 2031, however experts fear that its end may come sooner if Russia decides to end its cooperation on the site. The first two components of the ISS come from the Russian modules “Zarya” and “Zvezda”, which use their engines to raise the orbit of the ISS from time to time when the upper layers of the atmosphere begin slowing down the station.
If Putin decided to decouple these two modules, experts warn that the ISS would only survive for a short period of time before it enters Earth’s atmosphere.
In a series of tweets, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, threatened to allow the station to crash into Europe or the US.
Raging against the sanctions imposed by the US, he said: “Do you want to destroy our cooperation on the ISS?
“This is how you already do it by limiting exchanges between our cosmonaut and astronaut training centres.
“Or do you want to manage the ISS yourself?
“Maybe President Biden is off topic, so explain to him that the correction of the station’s orbit, its avoidance of dangerous rendezvous with space garbage, with which your talented businessmen have polluted the near-Earth orbit, is produced exclusively by the engines of the Russian Progress MS cargo ships.”
Space experts have long feared that the Russian conflict in Ukraine could break down the normal functioning of space research and that Putin could disable the International Space Station (ISS).
There are also fears that Putin could withdraw Russia’s two permanent cosmonauts on the ISS and order them to return to earth.
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