Russia is Pulling Out of the International Space Station

Wes O'Donnell
3 min readJul 26, 2022
The International Space Station is featured in this image including the six iROSA solar arrays in the planned configuration that will augment the power drawn from the existing arrays on the Station. Public Domain

Russia has announced today that they plan to end their 28-year partnership with NASA, bringing a close to a decades-long collaboration between former enemies.

Newly appointed Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov told Russian President Vladimir Putin that “the decision to leave this station after 2024 has been made.”

“You know that we are working within the framework of international cooperation at the International Space Station. Undoubtedly, we will fulfil all our obligations to our partners, but the decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made,” Borisov told Putin in the Kremlin-issued readout.

In the late 20th Century, space was seen as an area of cooperation between rival nations — the last “neutral zone” where real science can happen — and be shared.

Today, however, space is seen as the new “high ground” as countries compete for the vast resources and national prestige that accompany a robust space program.

With Russian satellite-killing robots in orbit, China’s new national space station, and the creation of the U.S. Space Force, it seems clear that humans are destined to take our terrestrial squabbles off-planet.

It should come as no surprise then, that Russia wishes to end their joint operations with the United States on the ISS; especially given the U.S. support of Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression.

But this isn’t the first time that Russia has threatened to abandon the ISS. Dmitry Rogozin, former head of Roscosmos, repeatedly threatened to do so before he was ousted.

Unhappy with Western sanctions after Russia’s first Ukraine invasion and annexation of Crimea, Rogozin threatened to leave the ISS numerous times.

But this time, something is different.

This time, Putin signed off on the threat.

According to the transcript of the meeting posted to the Kremlin’s website, Putin said “good” after Borisov told him that Roscosmos will be leaving the ISS and would be building its own space station after 2024 — he added that the new station was his agency’s top priority.

Wes O'Donnell

Army & Air Force Veteran | Global Security Wonk for War is Boring, GEN, OneZero, Soldier of Fortune | Law Student | TEDx Speaker | Founder of Warrior Lodge