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Russia to suspend ISS cooperation until ‘illegal’ sanctions are lifted

Russia has announced plans to suspend cooperation with other countries on the International Space Station, ISS until Ukraine-related sanctions are lifted.

There had been several speculations that Russia may play the ISS card in its bid to outmaneuver sanctions. Rumors peaked after a viral video, later said to be a joke, showed two Russian astronauts abandon a US astronaut on the ISS and return to earth.

While worried minds breathed in relief when authorities confirmed that Mark Vande Hei, the US astronaut in question, will ride back with Russian colleagues Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, this latest news seems to set minds racing once again.

Note that Mark Vande Hei returned to earth on 30 March 2022.

The ISS consists of five space agencies, namely: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). If Russia refuses to continue cooperation, there is no precedent on what will happen.

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However, before deciding to suspend collaborations, Russian space agency Roscosmos reached the other four ‘partners’ to help stop the sanctions. Apart from reassuring the agency that they would continue to do their best to have safe and successful space operations, none of the other agencies promised to do anything about the sanctions. Here is a thread that the agency’s director published as proof:

Russia’s next move is to announce a date that the country will officially suspend ISS cooperation and inform its officials. Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin has threatened that the International Space Station could crash into the earth without Russia.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.