ISS Russia and the United States announce an agreement until

ISS: Russia and the United States announce an agreement until 2025 – Journal du geek

According to Russian news agency Interfax, cited by Portal, NASA and Roscosmos recently reached an agreement on the delicate issue of logistics for the International Space Station. Russia will continue to ensure the transit of astronauts aboard its Soyuz rockets, while the United States will do the same with SpaceX Dragons, namely At least until 2025.

Despite its discretion, this announcement is very good news for the near-term future of the ISS. In fact, the American and Russian crews aboard the station have clearly defined responsibilities. If the two countries stopped consulting each other about the comings and goings of their astronauts, it could have damaging effects on the functioning of this major orbital laboratory. Fortunately, this announcement suggests that the station can continue operations as normal.

A turbulent transition period

Knowing the tensions between the two nations was anything but a guarantee. Since its launch into orbit, the station has always been a vehicle for political cooperation. In addition to its important scientific role, it is also one Pretext to maintain a valuable diplomatic channel in sometimes difficult conditions. This is particularly true in the United States and Russia; Since the invasion of Ukraine began, the ISS has been one of the few projects on which the two countries continue to actively cooperate.

But there ; The station is no longer very young. According to the current company calendar, you should go into your well-deserved retirement by 2024. The partners seem determined to extend the adventure until 2030, but the observation is clear: for the countries concerned, we must already start preparing for the post-ISS era.

Russia, for its part, has already announced its intention Pack before this date is focused on its partnership with the Chinese space agency, with which it plans to build a lunar base. These statements, which the new head of state Yuri Borisov repeated in the summer of 2022, forced the other partner countries to consider all options.

In fact, the departure of the cosmonauts will raise a whole series of important logistical questions. This concerns, for example, maintaining the altitude of the station, which currently remains a Russian prerogative. Rogozin did not hesitate to remind him of this through some outrageous provocations, of which he knows the secret, suggesting that without the Russians' expertise the station would be doomed.

An encouraging sign in the short term

Fortunately, Borissov is much more discreet and apparently more sensible than his sulphurous predecessor. By promising to continue commuting to other countries, Russia is half-heartedly signaling its intention to maintain this space cooperation. In any case, this seems to be in line with its statements last April, in which Roscosmos finally announced its desire continue its activities on board the ISS until 2028. In other words, it appears that the station will retain its status as a political haven for several years to come. The whole question now is what will happen next.

It would be ideal to extend this agreement until the ISS is decommissioned. But we can also imagine that the Russians would now completely stop transporting representatives from other countries. This would be a cumbersome logistical burden, but not insurmountable for other countries, which can count in particular on the remarkable regularity of SpaceX's Falcon launch vehicles.

The real problem is that this would be a very strong sign that Russia is finally leaving the ISS. Apart from the scientific consequences, this will, above all, sound the death knell for the ISS as a diplomatic ivory tower, with all that this means for geopolitical relations 400 kilometers below. Once this common denominator is no longer one, the fractures that divide the planet into two blocs around China and the United States risk becoming even more severe.

Therefore, it is appropriate to keep our fingers crossed that Borissov maintains this collaboration for a few more years, as astronaut Scott Kelly predicted last year.

🟣 To not miss any news in Journal du Geek, subscribe to Google News.