Apr 2, 2022 - Science

Russia threatens to end cooperation with International Space Station

The head of Russia's Roscosmos space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, attends a report ceremony.
Dmitry Rogozin before a launch at the Baikonur cosmodrome on Dec. 8, 2021. Photo: Pavel Pavlov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Russia's space director threatened Saturday to end cooperation with partners at the International Space Station (ISS) until Western sanctions are lifted, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, wrote on social media that the sanctions seek to "kill Russian economy and plunge our people into despair and hunger, to get our country on its knees."

  • "That's why I believe that the restoration of normal relations between the partners at the International Space Station and other projects is possible only with full and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions," Rogozin wrote in a tweet, per Reuters.

The big picture: Rogozin has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the space station and allow it to fall back to Earth in an uncontrolled deorbit in protest of sanctions on Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.

  • NASA said earlier this month that Russia was committed to the ISS, despite threats from Rogozin that it would end cooperation on the station.
  • The ISS can't function properly without both Russia and the U.S. participating.

State of play: NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two cosmonauts, Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, returned to Earth this week from the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

  • Before the landing, Rogozin threatened that Russia could either shut down or detach the primary engines that keep ISS in orbit and would not intervene if the spacecraft risked falling back to Earth in an uncontrolled deorbit.

Go deeper: NASA head says Russia is still committed to International Space Station

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