MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. The situation unfolding on the International Space Station could trigger serious consequences, even a disaster in the future, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told Rossiya-1 TV channel.
“We cannot endanger the life of [cosmonauts]. The situation, which is today linked to the ageing structures and iron, could trigger irreversible consequences and even a disaster. This must be prevented,” Borisov said speaking about the need to create a Russian orbital station.
Under the agreement between the participants of the ISS project, the station is due to be used until 2024 and talks are underway on its possible use after the expiration date. The deputy chief of the spacecraft and launch vehicles’ flight operation center of Energia corporation, Yuri Gidzenko, said a decision had been made at the highest level that the station would stay in operation till 2028. In his turn, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said that the space agency was monitoring the state of the International Space Station but generally it is early to retire it, even though some modules are operating beyond their service life. Roscosmos said a decision would be made after 2024 depending on the station’s state.
In November, the web portal Scientific Russia published fragments of a speech by International Space Station (ISS) Russian Segment Flight Manager, Energia First Deputy Chief Designer for Flight Operation and Testing of Rocket and Space Systems Vladimir Solovyov at a meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Council on Outer Space, in which he stated that already now some elements of the orbital outpost were seriously damaged and were getting out of operation. According to him, after 2025 many elements onboard the ISS were expected to go out of service and evaluated that the spending on the station could hit 10-15 bln rubles ($130 mln-$196 mln). He also presented the project of a Russian orbital service station being developed by the Energia Space Rocket Corporation. The Russian orbital outpost is expected to comprise from three to seven modules that will be able to operate both in the crewless mode and with crews of two to four members.
Later Solovyov told TASS his speech was not a proposal on the ISS’s further development. He stressed that there was neither talk on terminating the station’s work after 2025 nor on ending partnership relations with other parties to the project.