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Russia’s war on Ukraine has caused lasting damage to international spaceflight cooperation

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions homeless and displaced and billions of dollars of damage in infrastructure. The conflict has also had less immediate but significant impacts on other areas, including on the space industries of Ukraine and Russia, but also globally in terms of the launch market, spaceflight activity and international cooperation. 

In the wake of the start of the conflict on Feb. 24, 2022, and resulting international backlash against Russia, the then-head of the Russian space agency Dmitry Rogozin threatened to end its cooperation with the West on the International Space Station (ISS) program over sanctions imposed on Russia. He also issued a threat to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk for the company’s role in providing connectivity through its Starlink satellites.

Rogozin has since been removed as head of Roscosmos and replaced by Yuri Borisov. This has seen ties between NASA, the lead ISS participant, and Russia stabilize. “So far the ISS has proven to be remarkably resilient to geopolitics,” said Brian Weeden, Director of Program Planning for Secure World Foundation. “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.”

Beyond this however, serious damage has been done to Russia’s ability to participate in international space ventures.

Source : SPACE

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