As the world watches in horror Russian Invasion Of Ukraine, nations around the world are calling for peace and Some leaders have already announced strong sanctions against the government of Vladimir Putin for this international aggression.
Yesterday, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, He gave a very harsh speech in which he condemned the Russian actions and announced that he had already implemented strong economic sanctions in various areas. One of them is space.
“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war, and now he and this country will bear the consequences. Today I am authorizing strong additional sanctions and new limitations on what can be exported to Russia. This is going to impose severe costs on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time. We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize the long-term impact on Russia and minimize the impact on the US and our allies. Between our actions and those of our allies and partners, we estimate that More than half of Russia’s high-tech imports will be cut off. This will be a blow to its ability to modernize its military, which will degrade its aerospace industry, including its space program.”, affirmed Biden.
But One of the most important space programs that exist today is the one that has kept the International Space Station in orbit for more than 20 years. (ISS). A program that, although it includes the cooperation of 20 nations, its two backbones are the astronauts, technology, food and spare parts provided by the United States and Russia in an alliance that ignores the political ties that take place 400 kilometers from Earth.
After Biden’s speech, the head of the Russian space agency claimed that the International Space Station could fall out of orbit and hit the Earth somewhere due to the sanctions of several nations against Russia. Dmitry Rogozinhead of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, warned on Twitter that the sanctions imposed against Russia on Thursday could have serious implications in space.
“If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled de-orbit and fall into the United States or Europe? There is also the option to drop a 500-ton structure in India and China. Do you want to threaten them with such a prospect?said Rogozin, who seemed taken aback by Biden’s announced sanctions and claimed that the US president planned to “ultimately destroy” the global market for space competition by imposing sanctions against Russia’s space program, including its launch vehicles.
The head of the Russian space agency stated that the ISS, which weighs 500 tons and measures 109 meters long by 43 meters wide (like a soccer field), does not fly over Russia, so it is not a concern that it hits your country. However, he hinted that it would be a concern for China, India, the United States or parts of Europe. “So all risks are yours. Are you ready for them? Do you want to threaten them with such a prospect?” insisted Rogozin.
Despite this wake-up call and Biden’s sanctions, NASA announced that they are focusing on ISS operations in space and added that it “continues to work with Roscosmos and our other international partners in Canada, Europe and Japan to maintain safe and continuous operations on the ISS.”
Russia’s space program has had several new missions and technological developments in the works. One of the projects included a new crew capsule that is planned to launch on Russia’s new Angara rocket, which is currently being tested. Angara along with the capsule was supposed to be launched from a new platform at the Russian spaceport called the Vostochny Cosmodrome. It’s unclear at this point exactly how Biden’s sanctions would affect upcoming projects, but they could cause problems for other countries working with Russia on upcoming launches.
Another important project that has Russia in space matters is linked to cooperation with Europe to take a robot to Mars. After COVID-19 related delays ahead of its scheduled 2020 release, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos intend to send their joint ExoMars mission. The 12-day launch window will open – at least that’s how it was planned – on September 20, 2022 with the Rosalind Franklin rover scheduled to land on Mars on June 10, 2023.
NASA is not the only space agency that has intentions to investigate Mars, and it seems that ESA and Russia not only hope to compete with Perseverance, which has been on the surface of the red planet for a year carrying out experiments, but also to try to win the race to analyze the soil of our cosmic neighbor.