US sanctions, according to Russia’s space agency, could ‘destroy’ cooperation on the International Space Station.

The head of Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, Director General Dmitry Rogozin has weighed in on the new sanctions by the US on Russia. He declared that the said sanctions have the potential “to destroy our cooperation” on the International Space Station. The ISS orbiting outpost currently has four NASA astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts and one European astronaut living and working onboard.

Following President Joe Biden’s announcement of new sanctions on Thursday, 24th February 2022, that “will degrade their (Russia’s) aerospace industry, including their space program,” Dmitry Rogozin reminded all on Twitter that the orbit and location of the space station are controlled by Russian engines:

“If you block cooperation with us, who will save the International Space Station (ISS) from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States or…Europe?” Rogozin said. “There is also the possibility of a 500-ton structure falling on India and China. Do you want to threaten them with such a prospect? The ISS does not fly over Russia, therefore all the risks are yours. Are you ready for them?”

The US space agency, NASA has not responded directly to Rogozin’s remarks, but in a release, a spokesperson stated that NASA will “continue working with Roscosmos and our other international partners in Canada, Europe, and Japan to maintain safe and continuous ISS operations.”

The spokesperson added: “The new export control measures will continue to allow U.S.-Russia civil space cooperation. No changes are planned to the agency’s support for ongoing in orbit and ground station operations. The new export control measures will continue to allow U.S.-Russia civil space cooperation.”

The International Space Station (ISS), a joint project of the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, and the European Space Agency, is divided into two sections: the Russian Orbital Segment and the US Orbital Segment.

Female Astronautas aboard the ISS

In an interview with CNN, a former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman told the network.”The Russian segment can’t function without the electricity on the American side, and the American side can’t function without the propulsion systems that are on the Russian side. So you can’t do an amicable divorce. You can’t do a conscious uncoupling.”

While the White House has not commented on how the current bruhaha will affect the ISS, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson explicitly questioned the future of the International Space Station while speaking on the floor of the House of Commons on Thursday.

“I’ve been broadly in favor of continuing artistic and scientific collaboration,” Johnson said. “But in the current circumstances, it’s hard to see how even those can continue as normal.”

The international community is watching with bated breath to see how the Ukraine-Russia crisis will be resolved in the coming days. All we can hope for is a peaceful resolution. For now, the ISS is safe!

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