Russia threatens to abandon NASA on ISS and join China’s space mission

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Since being slapped with economic sanctions by the West, Russia has repeatedly made threats to end its association with NASA onboard the ISS, even threatening to let the 400- tonne space station fall to Earth in an uncontrolled crash. Now, Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, has expressed interest in cooperating with China in manned space missions.

In a statement, Roscosmos said: “Considering the strategic nature of partnership relations between Russia and China, we will, undoubtedly, develop cooperation with Chinese partners in the field of manned cosmonautics.

“Co-operation with the Chinese side in this sphere has been organized within the framework of the joint Russian-Chinese commission for cooperation in manned cosmonautic.”

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos told the China Global Television Network (CGTN) he’s looking forward to increasing collaborations with Beijing over space projects such as building new modules on China’s space station.

He also expressed interest in co-operating in sectors of satellite surveillance and communications constellations.

Speaking at the Sfera international navigational forum, he said: “Co-operation between Glonass and Beidou [China’s satellite navigational system] can quite spread to communications and surveillance clusters.”

Over the past few months, Mr Rogozin had several outbursts on Twitter, announcing that Russia would no longer cooperate with Western countries on board the International Space Station (ISS) until the sanctions are lifted.

China has previously hinted that it is open to working with foreign astronauts, and launching them to its space station which is currently under construction.

Zhou Jianping, the chief designer of China’s manned space programme said in March: “We would actively promote foreign astronauts’ participation in the work in China’s space station, which is an important part of international cooperation.

“You look forward to it, I look forward to it too.”

With the ISS set to be decommissioned by the end of 2031, China has already announced its goal to complete the construction of its Space Station by the end of this year.

The China National Space Administration has already planned out six launches to their Tiangong space station to install two science modules to the in-orbit Tianhe core module.

These launches will also include two cargo spacecraft and two crewed missions.

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The two countries have previously confirmed their alliance to build a research station on the moon, set to rival NASA’s upcoming Lunar Gateway.

Working with Russia, the countries plan to finish building basic infrastructure construction for International Lunar Research Station by 2035, according to Wu Yanhua, CNSA deputy director.

He said that this also includes systems for energy, communication and life support.

While NASA’s lunar Gateway will only orbit the Moon, this new space station will have both an orbiter and a base on the lunar surface, along with multiple exploration rovers.

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