How the Ukraine-Russian War Influenced Relations on the International Space Station

How the Ukraine-Russian War Influenced Relations on the International Space Station

 The space race. A race between the United States and the Soviet Union now formally called the Russian Federation. The race began in 1952 when Russian cosmonauts sent a satellite into Earth’s orbit. The satellite, Sputnik, flew into orbit around the Earth and beeps every few seconds. This sparked fear in the lives of many American citizens a few years after the launch of Sputnik, the Soviet Union sent a dog into outer space. 

This prompted the start of NASA and the Famous speech President Kennedy gave at Rice University. The famous words “We choose to go to the Moon” will be remembered worldwide forever. 

At this point, the United States joined the space race and at the end of the decade in 1969, the United States was the first and only country to successfully put a man on the moon. 

The space race is over but the end of space exploration is not. The start of international space station began in 1998 between many different countries but mainly between the United States and Russia. According to Andrew Jones writing for Space News, “Roscosmos Russia’s version of NASA announced that both it and NASA will continue the International Space Station launches with each other’s crew members through at least 2025, to maintain the reliability of the ISS as a whole.” But in February of 2022, Russia launched an attack on Ukraine. 

In the wake of this conflict, the past head of the Russian space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, threatened to end cooperation with the United States with imposed sanctions. Since the threat of ending the program from the Russian side, the replacement of Dmitry has taken place. The new head of the Russian space agency Yuri Borisov has calmed the situation and will maintain the ISS program. Andrew Jones writing for Space News says the reason for this is “I think that’s because both the US and Russia have a lot to lose if the partnership is severed, so, for now, both sides are willing to work it out and keep things going.” 

The most recent launch up to the ISS took place on March 4th sending 3 American astronauts and 1 Russian cosmonaut to the ISS, so the relationship remains. According to Nasa “The two space agencies are not trying to let politics ruin space exploration.” Even though the relationship between the US and Russia has been pretty calm since the start of the war for the ISS. Andrew Jones of Space News argues that “The biggest impact is likely to be on the next human spaceflight missions after the ISS comes to an end.” 

Russia’s bad history not only in the Ukraine war but in other sticky situations has led to the possible end of future space flights for Russia. China in 2021 announced a Sino-Russian plan for a joint International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) that may now have some doubts. “China’s space officials did not mention Russia when presenting its lunar plans and opportunities for international partners at a major space conference last fall”, according to Andrew Jones of Space News. 

Russia’s actions in Europe have impacted the cooperation between the US and ISS, Though the relationship right now is pretty stable, it’s the future missions that Russia will have to worry about and mend for future flights for Russia to have a successful future in space explorations.

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