Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NASA has announced that the International Space Station (ISS) remains business as usual, cooperating with the other international partners as well as Russia. Space exploration remains a militarized domain, despite the promise of peace and cooperation that the ISS is supposed to represent.
“The International Space Station team is continuing to safely conduct research operations in low-Earth orbit,” a spokesperson said, as reported by The Independent.
“Ongoing station operations continue including work to fly crew to the orbital outpost and to return them safely to Earth.”
The director of the European Space Agency, Josef Aschbacher, made a similarly neutral statement regarding the situation.
Well, the tune on the other side has changed significantly following the release of NASA's statement. US president Joe Biden's sanctions on Russia prompted the director of Roscomos, Dmitry Rogozin, to take to Twitter to threaten that Russia is ready to pull out of the joint enterprise. Without Russia, the ISS will likely fall on Europe, the US, or even India and China, he said.
The Russian segment of the station is responsible for maintaining the station in the right orbit. It could be possible to do it without Russia, but this is not a possibility that has been entertained so far.
In his tweets, Rogozin used conspiracy theories employed by Q-anon regarding the US president and seemingly took a shot at Musk’s satellite megaconstellations, which have concerned astronomers and space agencies.
"The correction of the station's orbit, its avoidance of dangerous rendezvous with space garbage, with which your talented businessmen have polluted the near-Earth orbit, is produced exclusively by the engines of the Russian Progress MS cargo ships," he tweeted.
This is not the first clash between Musk and Rogozin. After the US imposed sanctions on Russia following the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Rogozin asked if the US was planning to send its astronauts up into space with a trampoline since they were using Russian rockets at the time.
[H/T: The Independent]