Russia to Quit International Space Station in 2025

Russia will withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS) project in 2025 and notify its foreign partners of the decision, The Moscow Times reports citing state media.

The ISS, which was launched in 1998 by the Russian and U.S. space agencies, has been a rare area of cooperation between Moscow and Washington amid sharply deteriorating relations. But the ISS, which has been continuously occupied for more than 20 years, is expected to be retired around 2030.

Last Monday, as Russia celebrated the 60th anniversary of the launch that made Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin the first human in space, President Vladimir Putin called for a new space development strategy over the next decade.

But in previously untelevized remarks that aired Sunday on the state-run Rossia 1 broadcaster, Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov disclosed plans to “honestly notify [foreign partners] of our withdrawal from the ISS starting in 2025.”

“We need a technical inspection at the station to avoid any risks in the event of an emergency,” Borisov’s office told the state-run TASS news agency.

“We will make a decision based on the results and honestly notify our partners,” it added.

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said it plans to form its own orbiting outpost after international agreements on the use of ISS expire in 2024, according to Interfax.

“We have 2024 as an agreed time limit with our partners on the work of the ISS. After that, decisions will be made based on the technical condition of the station’s modules, which have mostly worn out their service life, as well as our plans to deploy a next-generation national orbital service station,” Roscosmos said.

Citing an unnamed industry source, Interfax reported that Russia’s new space station would cost $6 billion.

The new plans, which Interfax reports have not yet been approved, will follow years of corruption scandals and other setbacks in Russia’s space program.

Russia previously turned down participating in the “too U.S.-centric” Moon-orbiting station called the Gateway and announced plans to launch a joint lunar space station with China.