May 18, 2024

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Tensions between the US and Russia have reached space, but the ISS is safe, for now | World | D.W.

The ISS has been subject to a number of threatening tweets from the head of the Russian space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, who warned on Thursday that US sanctions could “destroy” cooperation between the two countries and that the research site would go to Earth without assistance. Russia.

Experts see such threats as part of a fiery political rhetoric. “No one wants to endanger the lives of astronauts and astronauts by political maneuvering,” John Loxton, a professor and astronaut at George Washington University, told AFP.

“It was a very emotional decision in 1994 when Russia made the station interdependent as a station partner,” he added, adding that the decision was taken with cost and speed concerns in mind.

The ISS is the world in space

Cooperation between ISS, USA, Canada, Japan, Europe and Russia is divided into two sections: the US Orbital Division and the Russian Orbital Division, each built and managed by its own country.

Currently, the ISS relies on the Russian propulsion system to maintain its orbit at about 250 miles (400 km) above sea level, while the US division is responsible for power and life support systems.

US President Joe Biden noted this coherence in a series of hostile tweets shortly after Russia announced sanctions against the aerospace industry.

Who will stop the ISS from collapsing?

“If you stop cooperating with us, who’s going to stop the ISS from going out of control and into the US or Europe?” Rokosin wrote that the station did not fly over much of Russia.

NASA, for its part, responded with a blunt statement, stressing that it “continues to work” with all its international partners, including the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, for the current safe operations of the International Space Station.

Julie Badrin-Josek, French educator and author of the book ISS, emphasized that Rogosin was “a political figure, very loyal to power” and had a history of making harsh statements.

Those at the station – Russians Anton Schaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, Americans Raja Sari, Thomas Marshburn and Kyla Barron and German Matthias Maurer – are highly trained professionals and they are unlikely to be affected, he told the news agency.

“Most astronauts, or those with experience in the ISS, over the past decades have been very closely associated with international cooperation,” Butterin-Josek said.

Moreover, the withdrawal from the ISS program would leave Russia without a manned space program, and if it starts working quickly with China on the Diangong space station, it is still under construction and currently has a crew of three.

jov (afp, Reuters)