Ukraine war tensions reverberate in outer space

Russia intends to withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024, according to an announcement from Yuri Borisov, the new head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, in a meeting with Vladimir Putin on July 26, 2022. Borisov also said future efforts will focus on a new Russian space station.

Current agreements on the ISS have it operating through 2024, and the station needs Russian modules to stay in orbit. The US and its partners have been seeking to extend the station’s life to 2030. Russia’s announcement, while not a breach of any agreement or an immediate threat to the station’s daily operation, does mark the culmination of months of political tensions involving the ISS.

Over its 23-year lifetime, the station has been an important example of how Russia and the US can work together despite being former adversaries. This cooperation has been especially significant as the countries’ relationship has deteriorated in recent years.

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