Russia’s space agency chief has warned the US that the sanctions placed on Moscow might ‘destroy our collaboration’ on the International Space Station (ISS), and has asked whether the US intends to scare India and China with the ‘possibility of a 500-tonne structure crashing’ on them.
The ISS programme, which also includes Canada, Japan, and numerous European nations including as France, Italy, and Spain, is dominated by Russia and the United States.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a’special military operation’ against Ukraine on Thursday, the US and its allies moved to freeze assets of four large Russian banks, impose export curbs, and sanction oligarchs close to him.
Following US President Joe Biden’s announcement on Thursday of new sanctions that will ‘degrade’ Russia’s ‘aerospace industry, including their space programme,’ Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin tweeted on Friday that Russian engines control the ISS orbit and location in space, according to CNN.
‘Who will preserve the International Space Station (ISS) from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States or…Europe if you restrict cooperation with us?’ Rogozin used Russian in his tweets.
He even mentioned the potential of a 500-tonne structure colliding with India or China.
“Do you want to threaten them with such a prospect? The ISS does not fly over Russia, therefore all the risks are yours. Are you ready for them?” the Russian space agency chief asked.
According to space.com, a New York-based astronomy news website, one of his tweets asked, ‘Do you want to damage our cooperation on the ISS?’
The Russian portion of the ISS is in charge of the entire complex’s guidance, navigation, and control. It also noted that Russian Progress cargo craft offer periodic orbit-raising boosts for the ISS to keep it from sinking too low into the Earth’s atmosphere.
According to a CNN story on Friday, NASA has not responded directly to Rogozin’s remarks, but it does state that it “continues to work with Roscosmos and our other international partners in Canada, Europe, and Japan to guarantee safe and continuing ISS operations.”
According to the report, four NASA astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts, and one European astronaut are now living and working aboard the orbiting station.