Russia will withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS) project “after 2024” to build its own equivalent, the new head of the state space agency Roscosmos said Tuesday.
“I think that by then we will start setting up a Russian orbital station,” Roscosmos chief Yuri Borissov said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling the space program a “priority main”.
“Of course, we will fulfill all our obligations to our partners, but the decision to leave this station after 2024 has been taken,” Borisov added.
Borissov told Putin that the Russian space industry was in a “difficult situation”, adding that he would seek “to raise the bar and, above all, to provide the Russian economy with the necessary space services”, stressing navigation, communication and data transmission, among others.
Also on Tuesday, Roscosmos revealed a model of the Russian orbital station.
Quoting an unnamed industry source, Interfax reported that the new Russian space station would cost 6 billion dollars.
The ISS, launched in 1998 by the Russian and American space agencies, was one of the rare areas of cooperation between Moscow and Washington in a context of sharp deterioration in relations.
Earlier this month, NASA announced it was resuming flights to the ISS with Russia.
Russia’s decision to withdraw from the ISS comes amid its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which has triggered several rounds of unprecedented Western sanctions against Moscow.
In April, the former head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin threatens end cooperation with Western partners on the ISS in retaliation for sanctions.
“The restoration of normal relations between partners of the International Space Station and other projects is possible only with the full and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions,” Rogozin said on Twitter.
Russia first announcement its plan to launch its own outpost into orbit last year, citing the ISS’ aging infrastructure.
AFP contributed reporting.