The current slide of relations between US and Russia on Ukraine has started affecting the cooperation between the space faring nations on the International Space Station. Russia has already rejected US request to prolong the life of ISS to beyond 2020.

The current state of relations between US and Russia is casting its long shadows on the future of the ISS. The ISS was a model of cooperation between Russia and US post cold war. It is for the first time that Russia is retaliating against a string of sanctions put on Russia by US and the West for its annexation of Crimea.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has already indicated in Moscow that Russia will reject the US request to extend the life of the ISS beyond 2020. Moscow has initiated a string of retaliatory measures against US which also included suspending operation of GPS satellite navigation system sites on its territory from June.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told a news conference, “We are very concerned about continuing to develop high-tech projects with such an unreliable partner as the United States, which politicizes everything,”

The US is trying to extend the life of the $100 billion ISS to 2024. The ISS is an international effort and 15 nations have contributed their bit in constructing the ISS for research and development.

Relations between the US and Russia has deteriorated to a point of no return and the latest actions by Russia will drive the proverbial nail into the coffin of space cooperation between the two space giants.

The US depends solely on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to carry its astronauts to the ISS since it has already wound up its Space Shuttle program. Moscow is already struggling with its space program which has been plagued by accidents in the last few years. The denial of export licenses for high tech components by US will deal a big blow to US-Russian cooperation in Space Science.

 

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