Russia threatens to leave International Space Station program over US sanctions

Moscow is threatening to leave the International Space Station (ISS) program, citing U.S. sanctions on Russian companies.

“If the sanctions against Progress and TsNIIMash remain and are not lifted in the near future, the issue of Russia’s withdrawal from the ISS will be the responsibility of the American partners,” Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said Monday, according to an NBC translation.

“Either we work together, in which case the sanctions are lifted immediately, or we will not work together and we will deploy our own station,” Rogozin said.

U.S. firms looking to sell to companies labeled by Washington as having ties to the Russian military have to obtain special licenses from the federal government, making it more difficult to do business with those companies.

There are over 40 companies in Russia that fall under that category, including JSC Rocket and Space Center Progress and JSC Central Research Institute of Machine Building, known as TsNIIMash.

“For decades, upwards now of 45 plus years [we’ve cooperated with] Russians in space, and I want that cooperation to continue,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told CNN this month, adding “it would not be good” for Russia to leave.

Russia leaving the station would end the more than 20-year relationship between 15 countries that have been a part of the ISS program.

This is not the first time Russia has threatened to leave the space program.

Russia said back in April that the country plans to launch its own station in 2030.

“If in 2030, in accordance with our plans, we can put it into orbit, it will be a colossal breakthrough,” Rogozin said at the time. “The will is there to take a new step in world manned space exploration.”

Tags Bill Nelson International Space Station Moscow NASA Russia Russian military sanctions

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