ISS, security at risk due to tensions between the US and Russia?

ISS, security at risk due to tensions between the US and Russia?


According to Dmitry Rogozin, Western sanctions on Russia, some of which prior to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, could disrupt the operation of Russian spacecraft serving the ISS. As a result, the Russian segment of the station, which helps correct its orbit, could be affected by causing the 500-ton structure to fall into the sea or land, the Roscosmos chief wrote on Telegram.

"The Russian segment ensures that the station's orbit is corrected (on average 11 times a year), also to avoid space debris," said Rogozin, who regularly expresses his support for the Russian army in Ukraine on social networks .

By publishing a map of where the ISS could possibly descend, he pointed out that it was unlikely to be in Russia. "But the populations of other countries, especially those led by 'war dogs', should think about the price of sanctions against Roscosmos," he continued, describing the countries that have imposed sanctions as "crazy".

Space is one of the last remaining areas in which the United States and Russia continue to cooperate. In early March, Roscosmos announced its intention to prioritize the construction of military satellites as Russia finds itself increasingly isolated due to the war in Ukraine.

Rogozin also announced that Moscow will no longer supply engines for the US Atlas and Antares rockets. “Let them fly into space on their broomsticks,” he wrote. On March 30, US astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two cosmonauts, Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, will return to Earth from the ISS aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.

Explainer: Russia mulls withdrawing from ISS

Published: Published Date - 06:59 PM, Wed - 16 March 22

Hyderabad: After Russia invaded Ukraine, the US imposed sanctions on Russia including a ban on the transfer of technology and on Russian banks. Following this, the Russian space agency Roscosmos held that the State Corporation will not cooperate with Germany on joint experiments in the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS). Space is one of the last remaining areas where the United States and Russia continue to cooperate. Read here the impact of sanctions imposed on Russia on the working of ISS.

Russia’s role in maintaining ISS

The ISS is built with the cooperation of scientists from five international space agencies — NASA of the US, Roscosmos of Russia, JAXA of Japan, Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency. Each agency has a role to play and a share in the upkeep of the ISS. Both in terms of expense and effort, it is not a feat that a single country can support.

Russia’s part in the collaboration is the module responsible for making course corrections to the orbit of the ISS. Further, the Russian segment ensures that the space station’s orbit is corrected to keep it away from space debris, roughly 11 times a year. It also ferry astronauts to the ISS from the Earth and back.

Impact of Russia’s withdrawal

Due to its enormous weight and the ensuing drag, the ISS tends to sink from its orbit at a height of about 250 miles above the Earth. It has to be pushed up to its original line of motion now and then.

Russia’s withdrawing from its segment of the ISS cooperation spacecraft could affect correcting the orbit of the ISS. This meant the ISS could fall into the sea or on the land.

ISS would likely crash down on some country, but most probably not Russia itself. The orbit of the ISS does not fly over Russian territory mostly.

However, dropping of ISS poses a greater risk to regions that are closer to the equator. But this is only a probability, as it can move or disintegrate. In case of this eventuality, people in the ISS will be brought back, modules can be detached thereby making it much smaller which will ensure that it disintegrates before touching the earth.

All about International Space Station

The ISS is the most complex international scientific and engineering project in history and the largest structure humans have ever put into space.

The space station flies at an average altitude of 400 kilometers above Earth. It circles the globe every 90 min. at a speed of about 28,000 kph.

In one day, the station travels about the distance it would take to go from Earth to the moon and back.

Five different space agencies representing 15 countries built the USD 100-billion International Space Station and continue to operate it today.

Substitutes for Russia

There are right now two possibilities. SpaceX’s dragon module and Boeing’s Starliner can dock with the ISS. Until SpaceX’s dragon spacecraft came into the picture the Russian spacecrafts were the only way of reaching the ISS and returning.

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