Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Tuesday it hopes to launch its own space station in 2025. Moscow is considering withdrawing from the International Space Station program. Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, said that work has already begun on the first module of the new space station.
“The first basic module of the new Russian orbital station is in the works,” Rogozin said in a statement on the Telegram messaging application.
He said that the Russian space corporation Energia aims to have the module “ready for launch” in 2025 and released a video of Energia staff at work.
The announcement came with rising tensions over espionage calls, rising Russian troops along Ukraine’s borders and the deteriorating health of President Vladimir Putin’s imprisoned critic Alexei Navalny.
The International Space Station (ISS), which is currently in orbit, is one of the most ambitious international collaborations in human history.
The ISS was launched in 1998 in cooperation with Russia, the United States, Japan, Canada and the European Space Agency.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov has said in recent days that Moscow is considering leaving the ISS program in 2025 due to the station’s age.
However, Roscosmos said on Monday that a decision on leaving the ISS had not yet been made.
“When we make a decision, we will start negotiations with our partners on the forms and conditions of cooperation after 2024,” the space agency told AFP in a statement.
Russia lost its monopoly on manned flights to the ISS last year after the first successful mission of the American company Space X.
Despite its much-lauded history – Russia marked 60 months since Yuri Gagarin became the first person in orbit – the country’s space program has struggled in recent years.
(With contributions from agencies)