By Ryan Morrison and Will Stewart
- The Russian space agency Roscosmos declared the ISS unsafe and a risk to life
- They are launching a new station within the next four years in low Earth orbit
- This includes a ‘tourist’ module with room for up to four visitors from the Earth
- It comes amid increasing tensions between Russia and the West
Russia could withdraw from the International Space Station in 2025 and launch its own facility over concerns the ISS is becoming too unreliable, Roscosmos says.
Dmitry Rogozin, chief of the Russian space agency said work has already begun on the first module of a new station, expected to go into orbit early in 2025.
A top Kremlin official warned that ‘disaster’ was looming for the ISS, putting the lives of crew members at risk due to its age – by 2025 is will be 27 years old and was originally designed to last between 15 and 30 years, according to NASA.
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION MODULES
The station is made up of 16 pressurised modules that humans can enter and work or live inside.
Including four Russian modules, nine US modules, two Japanese modules and one European module.
Russian modules: Pirs, Zvezda, Poisk and Rassvet
US modules: Zarya, BEAM, Leonardo, Harmony, Quest, Tranquility, Unity, Cupola, and Destiny
Japanese modules: JEM-ELM-PS and JEM-PM
European module: Columbus
Axiom Space has proposed a new commercial module for the station that would connect where the PMA-2 ‘space shuttle docking port’ is based.
The ISS is made up of 16 modules including four built and funded by the Russian space agency, nine from the US, two from Japan and one from Europe.
There are talks of extra commercial modules being added to the station in the future, including one proposed by current NASA commercial partner Axiom Space.
Roscosmos confirmed that its new space station would be made up of five modules including a ‘commercial module that can accommodate four tourists.’
Moscow is also threatening to pull out of the ISS, and other western cooperations, amid high tensions over espionage claims, hacking and Ukraine.
Russian deputy premier Yuri Borisov said the ageing ISS is becoming too unreliable and risks serious consequences, adding ‘we cannot endanger the life of [the crew].’
‘The situation, which is today linked to the ageing structures and iron, could trigger irreversible consequences and even a disaster. This must be prevented.’
Talks are underway with its international participants including the US and Russia about using the station beyond 2024 but Moscow is already building its own facility.
Rogozin – a close ally of Vladimir Putin – said: ‘The first core module of the new Russian orbital station is in the works.’
Vladimir Soloviev, a senior executive with RSC Energia said the commercial module will have two large windows and wifi access for the visitors.