The International Space Station has served as a symbol of international collaboration for decades, even among competitors and past adversaries. The ISS’s status as a neutral ground in orbit is now threatened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, launched a tweetstorm on Thursday in reaction to the potential of US sanctions affecting the space program. Rogozin argued in the thread that since Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, Russia’s space program has been OK with the limits in place.
US-Russia tensions spill into space
He went on to point out that Russian engines help steer the ISS out of the way of space junk in orbit. But then the rant took a bizarre turn as Rogozin floated the idea of dropping the ISS on our heads should the US and other participating nations kick Russia out of the program.
According to CNET, Rogozin is known in space circles for this caustic and mocking tone. When He went on to say that Russian engines aid in steering the ISS away from space trash in orbit. The speech then took a peculiar turn when Rogozin suggested that if the US and other participating nations kicked Russia out of the program, the ISS be dropped on our heads.
Rogozin’s scathing and sarcastic tone is well-known in space circles. When sanctions against Russia were issued in 2014, he proposed that NASA launch people into space on a trampoline.
After the United States imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014, he proposed that NASA use a trampoline to launch humans into space.
The US was relying on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to reach the International Space Station at the time, but that position altered with the debut of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon ship for crewed missions.
In reaction to Rogozin’s statements, NASA issued an email late Thursday stating that the space agency “continues to cooperate with all of our international partners, including the State Space Corporation Roscosmos, for the continued safe operations of the International Space Station.”
Russia’s withdrawal was downplayed by the European Union, which said it would have no impact on the quality of service provided by its satellite networks Galileo and Copernicus. Galileo is Europe’s worldwide navigation satellite system, which provides location and timing data for mobile phones, automobiles, trains, and aircraft. Copernicus provides earth observation data, such as climate change data.
Two Russian cosmonauts are currently on the ISS, together with four American astronauts and Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency. Three additional Russian cosmonauts are scheduled to launch to the International Space Station next month. The two cosmonauts on board and one NASA astronaut will return to Earth in a Russian capsule shortly after, landing in Kazakhstan, as per Reuters via MSN.