Russia is striving to build its own space base when the International Space Station is no longer usable – to launch missions to the Moon and Mars.
The ISS has been constantly occupied by astronauts since November 2000, but must be dismantled by 2030 due to structural fatigue.
After this, Roscosmos plans to take the modules it built for the ISS and use them as the basic parts of its new space station orbiting Earth – which will take ten years to build.
The Russian agency says it plans to use the new space station as a place to assemble and refuel spacecraft before launching further into the solar system.
The ISS has been constantly occupied by astronauts since November 2000, but due to structural fatigue, it must be decommissioned by 2030
Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, said the platform was “for exploring deep space” and would include flights to Mars, the moon, and asteroids.
“We are going to assemble spacecraft in orbit for flights to Mars, the moon and asteroids, because it will be very difficult and challenging to get such an entire structure off Earth,” said Rogozin.
He saw that Russia was open to the idea of working with other countries on their new space station – which would serve as a gas station and rally point.
Russia plans to send a manned mission to the moon by 2028 – four years after the U.S. Artemis mission placed the first woman and the next man on the moon’s surface.
Moscow also hopes to send cosmonauts to Mars using the Angara heavy lift missiles – currently under development – but has not set a date.
The announcement of the new Russian space station comes as NASA steps closer to ending its reliance on Roscosmos missiles to send astronauts to the ISS.
Since NASA ended the Space Shuttle program in 2011, Russia was the only country able to take astronauts to and from the ISS – using its Soyuz missiles.
After the ISS ends its life, Roscosmos plans to use the modules it has built for the station as the base parts of its new space station orbiting Earth – which will take ten years to build
NASA has paid Roscosmos to bring its astronauts to the space station since 2011, but the long-term relationship is expected to end soon thanks to SpaceX.
Elon Musk’s space agency is expected to launch two US-based NASA astronauts this weekend for the first time since 2011 on top of its Falcon 9 rocket.
This move may be part of the reason behind Russia’s drive to further expand its space program into the solar system.
Rogozin says the country should start preparing for its own space station as soon as possible, because it will take ten years to build it.
“As a country that has always been a leader in the creation of orbital stations, Russia should immediately start creating a new station,” he told Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda in an interview about the country’s spatial plans.
The country has not said whether the space station would be occupied like the ISS or fully automated to assemble and refuel spacecraft.
Rogozin also said Roscosmos is “considering the possibility of creating a winged manned spacecraft for flights to orbital stations” to help build the new station.
The ISS – an international orbital laboratory involving the US, European Space Agency, Roscosmos, Jaxa, and others – required 42 assembly flights.
Of the assembly flights, 37 were on the US Space Shuttle and five on the Russian Proton / Soyuz rockets.
In a wide-ranging interview, Rogozin focused on White House plans to introduce Artemis Accords – the regulatory mining on the moon.
NASA has paid Roscosmos to bring its astronauts to the space station since 2011, but the long-term relationship is expected to end soon thanks to SpaceX
He said that Russia “will not allow the privatization of the moon by anyone” and said he would not participate in the moon race.
The Artemis Agreements would only apply to countries that sign up to endorse them.
They would protect mining rights of companies, protect heritage sites on the moon, and oblige signers to assist astronauts from other countries when they are in distress.
In the same interview, Rogozin also focuses on Elon Musk and SpaceX.
He said that Musk’s idea of sending nuclear weapons to Mars to warm up the atmosphere and make it more suitable for human life was a cover for the US to deploy nuclear weapons in space.
Rogozin raged at Musk’s “revolting” idea, calling it a front for military ambitions.
In the same interview, Rogozin also focuses on Elon Musk and SpaceX. He said that Musk’s idea to send nuclear weapons to Mars to warm the atmosphere and make it more suitable for human life was a cover for the US to deploy nuclear weapons in space
“We understand that one thing is behind all this demagogy: this is a cover for the deployment of nuclear weapons in space,” he said.
Rogozin isn’t the first Russian official to question Musk’s idea, after his fellow Roscomos official Alexander Bloshenko said earlier this month that it would take more than 10,000 nuclear warheads to implement the plan.
Russia isn’t the only space agency looking to expand its orbit around Earth – the Chinese space agency plans to start building a small station next year.
China’s large modular space station is a planned manned station for low Earth orbit – it will be about a fifth of the mass of the ISS.
NASA is also planning a new space station – but this time around the moon – called the Lunar Gateway, which will help astronauts explore the moon.
No specific details have been announced by the US or ESA for plans to replace the ISS.
Explained: The $ 100B INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IS 250 MILES OVER EARTH
The International Space Station (ISS) is a $ 100 billion (£ 80 billion) science and engineering laboratory orbiting 400 kilometers above Earth.
It has been permanently manned by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.
Research aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions in low Earth orbit, such as low gravity or oxygen.
ISS studies have conducted research in human research, space medicine, life sciences, natural sciences, astronomy and meteorology.
The U.S. space agency NASA spends approximately $ 3 billion (£ 2.4 billion) annually on the space station program, a funding level endorsed by the Trump administration and Congress.
A U.S. committee of the United States House of Representatives overseeing NASA has begun to consider extending the program beyond 2024.
Alternatively, the money could be used to accelerate planned human space initiatives to the Moon and Mars.