Yuri Borisov, the head of Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, has called the Internation space station dangerous and unfit. He claimed that the 24-year-old ISS is facing equipment failure which is endangering its crew.
Borisov states that “Technically, the ISS has exceeded all its warranty periods. This is dangerous,” and the statement comes around the time Russia plans to part ways with the station. Russia’s global relations took a turn for the worse after it declared a war on Ukraine.
Space programs demand nations cooperate with each other, and Russia is now leaning towards a different power bloc by aligning with China. However, it seems the country’s concerns about the aging ISS may have some substance after all.
Aging ISS and Russia’s ambitions
An ambitious operation indeed, the Internation space station (ISS) has been sent into space with the cooperation of 5 space agencies and fifteen countries. Assembling it took 42 separate launches and it weighs a total of 4,20,000 kilograms.
All that mass is orbiting the Earth at a speed of five miles per second. In other words, the ISS goes around the Earth 16 times every 24 hours. So the astronauts aboard are witnessing 16 sunrises and sunsets every day.
Just one-yard shy of a full-length American football stadium, over 8 miles of wire connects the entire ISS. All these stats considered, it is fairly safe to assume that the now two-decade-old space station has its limits. America’s NASA also plans to keep it operational till 2030, which means it’s a matter of half a decade before the ISS is decommissioned.
While Russia’s narrative is that of absolute chaos around the ISS, it may not be the full picture. However, it remains to be seen how NASA and the rest of the agencies approach the nearing end date of the ISS.
Now, Russia plans to launch its own space station, which would get a better view of the country. Reuters reports that Russia’s planned station will orbit the Earth around the poles, gathering new data from Russian territory.