Russia’s Space Station plan
Vladimir Putin used his appearance on television last week to announce Russian plans to build a national replacement for the International Space Station (ISS) once it reaches the end of its design life.
The ISS is due to be decommissioned in 2023 and at present there is no agreement in place to build a successor.
The president said a new station was necessary but that it would be designed to suit Russia’s needs.
“We use the ISS for science and the economy but from the ISS only five per cent of the area of Russia can be seen,” he said.
“From a national station, of course, we will be able to see the whole territory of our vast country.”
Putin was quoted by Sputnik News as saying: “By 2023 we are going to create our own national orbital station. We will definitely bring this project to fruition and it will be under our control.”
Dmitri Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister, recently said the country would continue to stay with the ISS in the meantime.
It had been suggested that the parts that Russia had contributed to the ISS should be removed and reused on the national station.
Russia is presently the world’s leading space power mainly because the US, which has not replaced its Space Shuttle, still relies on Russia for transporting astronauts to Earth orbit.
Charles Bolden, the head of NASA, assured a congressional subcommittee last week: “We are facilitating the development of a US commercial crew transportation capability with the goal of launching NASA astronauts from American soil in the next couple of years. This initiative will end our sole reliance on Russia.”
Funding for Russia’s federal space programme by 2025 will be an estimated US$40 billion. The country is currently building a Cosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region that will replace Baikonur.