👩‍🚀 International Space Station operations secured until 2026

👩‍🚀 International Space Station operations secured until 2026

Over this past month, the war in Ukraine has made many fear for the continued operation of the ISS. In reality, things seem a bit more optimistic.

Jakob Holgersson
Jakob Holgersson

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When the war in Ukraine broke out and sanctions were imposed on Russia, that had ramifications. Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, commented that rocket engines would no longer be supplied to the United States and that Americans now would use "broomsticks" to get to space.

SpaceX's "Broomstick" launch. Video: Associated Press

This was later mocked by SpaceX. While not a devastating piece of news, it seems to have pushed NASA to take precautions to secure continued operations on the famous space station.

On March 25, the American space agency announced that it's expanded the scope of its Commercial Resupply Services-2 (CRS-2) contract by an additional 12 missions. Half of these missions have been awarded to Northrop Grumman and the other half to SpaceX. The contract. which was originally awarded in 2016, will now cover a total of 32 missions until 2026.

This isn't the only concern expressed from Rozgozin's side, as he also stated that if Russia were to be excluded from the ISS program, the space station would fall out of orbit. That's because Russian spacecraft docked to the Russian part of the station serve the purpose of correcting course and keeping it in orbit.

Rogozin's tweet, stating that without Russian engines, the ISS will drop out of orbit.

The response to that tweet was two-pronged as Elon Musk stated that SpaceX craft could replace their Russian equivalents, while NASA tried to de-escalate the situation in a statement.

"The new export control measures will continue to allow US-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 US-Russia civil space cooperation", NASA stated.

Indeed, it does seem that many outlets have taken Rogozin's statements out of context, as NASA representatives have claimed that cooperation with Roscosmos remains strong. There indeed seems to be little in the way of animosity between the two space agencies and upon closer analysis, Rogozin's tweets seem more like colorfully worded expressions of concern than threats.

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Controlling the flow of information is vital in war. SpaceX is doing its part to tip the scales in favor of Ukraine.