Russia’s invasion of Ukraine undermines long-standing international partnerships in space exploration.
Last week, the Russian space program announcement it would stop selling rocket motors to the United States. The move is the latest in various retaliatory responses by the Russian space agency to Western sanctions imposed on the country since its invasion of Ukraine, reports Becky Ferreira for Vice.
“In a situation like this, we cannot supply the United States with the best rocket engines in the world,” Dmitry Rogozin, director general of Roscosmos, told the Russia-24 TV channel. Reuters reports. “Let them fly on something else – their brooms – I don’t know what.”
After Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24, President Joe Biden imposed sanctions that included blocking technology exports and restrictions on Russian banks, Kevin Liptak reported for CNN. Russia has delivered 122 RD-180 engines to the United States since the 1990s. According to Reuters, the United States has used 98 of these engines to power Atlas launch vehicles.
Rogozin responded to sanctions on Twitter by threatening to stop cooperation on the International Space Station (ISS), reports CNN KristenFisher. Russia manages the space station’s propulsion control systems that keep it in orbit, Rogozin, which is known for hyperbolic replicas-implied that the country might allow the ISS to crash into Earth, reports Rebecca Heilweil for Voice. The growing tension could challenge the era of Russia-US collaboration in space exploration after the Cold War, for Voice.
However, Kathy Lueders, who heads NASA’s human spaceflight program, said partnerships between Roscosmos and NASA are continuing as usual, Michael Sheets reported for CNBC News.
On Thursday, Roscosmos took to Twitter to announce this would end all collaborative ties with Germany after the country’s space center, the DLR, issued a declaration condemning Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.
“Violence should never be a means to achieve goals of any kind. We therefore view developments in Ukraine with grave concern and condemn Russia’s hostile actions,” the DLR said in the statement.
Roscosmos said on Twitter last week that all previously planned joint experiments on the ISS will now be conducted independently and Russian space programs will be adjusted to sanctions imposed by several countries after the invasion of Ukraine. Roscosmos also said it would focus on creating satellites for defense purposes, for Reuters.
A foreseen The Internet satellite launch of OneWeb, a company partly owned by the British government, was canceled after Russia demanded that the satellites not be used for military purposes. In response, OneWeb suspended all future launches aboard Soyuz rockets, reports Mike Wall for Space.com. Since 2019, the company has launched 400 satellites aboard Russian rockets since 2019, Joey Roulette for the New York Times reports.
“It’s not encouraging that the Russian space agency is isolating itself,” said Victoria Samson, space policy analyst at the Secure World Foundation. Times. “Maybe it’s Russia accelerating the death of connections that might happen in due time anyway. But now it’s on their terms.”