What is behind Russia's desire to abandon the ISS

The intentions announced by Roscosmos and representatives of the Energia rocket and space corporation to abandon the operation of the International Space Station are discussed today mainly with economic and a scientific point of view. Those who raise the question of whether the prospect of creating a certain analogue of the ISS on our own, without involving any foreign partners, is real for our country, no doubt, are right.

However, speaking about the feasibility of such extremely complex and costly programs, one must not forget that their implementation may well turn into a question of Russia's survival, and in the most literal sense of the word. In order to understand this, it is worth touching upon a slightly different aspect of our space future - the military.

It's not just money

As the main reason for the alleged withdrawal of our country from this space project, the same General Director of Energia, Vladimir Solovyov, voices the "excessive" costs for it. At the same time, he cites a specific figure of 10-15 billion rubles, which, of course, is impressive. Generally speaking, the ISS is considered an international business, however, the United States and Russia bear the lion's share of the costs and the main burdens for its technical support. At the same time, there is, let's say, a certain imbalance - the number of ISS modules belonging to the American segment is exactly twice the number of domestic ones (10 versus 5). At the same time, the "jurisdiction" of the United States includes, for example, the Japanese "Kibo" or "Columbus" - a module of the European Space Agency. However, in order to understand how much economy is actually in the ISS, and how much policy, you should definitely go back to the moment when it was created. As a matter of fact, the USSR then had Mir in orbit - already much "out of service" from its original service life, but still quite efficient.

The USA had nothing comparable - only space ambitions. There, I remember, they were going to build a "purely American" orbital station with a pretentious name Freedom. Well, it’s not that completely “clean” - they wanted to involve Canadians, Europeans and even Japanese in the project. However, having calculated the upcoming costs, Washington was horrified. Moreover, the Americans' lack of real experience in such matters made it possible that completely unimaginable sums would also be wasted. It was then that they remembered about Russia. It was in the early 90s, the Soviet Union no longer existed, and our country was "ruled" by the most sincere friends of the United States. Why not?

A huge role here was played by the fact that the Zarya module, built in our country, but with American money, cost NASA almost half as much as if it had been created in the United States itself ($ 250 million against the planned 450). The same story happened with the "throwing" of the ISS components into space. In 1998, our Proton-K launched Zarya into orbit at a cost of $ 65 million. Transportation along the same route of the American Unity on the Endeavor shuttle was almost ten times more expensive - the event cost $ 570 million. Nevertheless, back in 1993, when the issue of future space cooperation with the Russians was discussed in the US Senate, the most heated discussions were conducted around it - the corresponding bill was passed with a margin of only one vote! Since then, it is clear that the attitude towards our country, both on Capitol Hill and in the White House, has changed quite significantly - and far from for the better. It is because of this that the first conversations about a "space divorce" with the Americans sounded from Dmitry Rogozin, who was then Deputy Prime Minister back in 2014, after sanctions rained down on Russia for the reunification of Crimea with it and "interference in the affairs of Ukraine. ".

If anyone forgot, Mr. Rogozin even then threatened to leave the "partners" without components for rocket engines and force them to use the notorious trampoline ... The trampoline did not reach - thanks to Elon Musk, although, as far as we know, NASA until recently intended to use the services "Roskosmos", as cheaper, but relations between the countries all this time continued to deteriorate rapidly. And now, it looks like the ISS, which served as one of the most important symbols of Russian-American cooperation that began after the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, will become one of the victims of this deterioration and the impending era of a new confrontation between the superpowers. Now - and in space.

Space: instead of cooperation - the battlefield

Is it worth continuing to make a "good face" in the face of not only a bad, but a very bad "game", continuing to work together with the country making more and more efforts to "strangle" the domestic space industry as such? Not so long ago it became known that in the depths of the US state apparatus, a draft of a new package of restrictions has already matured, directed against both China and our country. Under the next sanctions, in particular, should fall about 30 domestic government agencies, departments and companies. The blow is being struck, first of all, at the aircraft industry and at least two subsidiaries of Roskosmos. Rosatom is also not ignored. Well, after that, what is the point in "cooperation" with such "partners"?

However, even if the decision mentioned above (it has not yet been officially adopted, but, as far as we know, it has very high chances of being implemented), the question of further joint "exploration of peaceful space" with those who see us as a target today # 1 looks more than controversial. Especially when you consider that outer space is rapidly ceasing to be peaceful - and precisely at the suggestion of the Americans. Let me remind you that it was the United States during the presidency of Donald Trump that sharply spurred the process of his militarization. The creation in the structure of the United States armed forces not only of the Space Command, but of a new (sixth in a row) space branch at the end of 2019 was by no means an empty declaration. Already on October 21 of this year, it was announced that the first of their three governing bodies, the Space Operations Command (SpOC), had entered service. Its headquarters, led by Lieutenant General Stephen Whiting, is located at Peterson AFB in Colorado.

This headquarters, as its name implies, is responsible for planning and supporting combat operations in near-earth space. Next in line are two more field commands. One will be responsible for the development, production and maintenance of weapons for space wars, while the other will be responsible for training appropriate specialists for them. Everything is more than serious, as we see. In addition, the US allies are not at all going to stay away from the military space race, joining it one after another. Great Britain and France have already announced the creation of their own Space Forces. At the same time, the British, with their characteristic "modesty", declare their intention to "become a global leader in space", specifying at the same time that they see their main task as "confronting Russia" even outside our planet. The French are not yet eager to become leaders and only talk about a "space defense strategy", but at the same time they do not hide the accelerated development of such things as orbital weapons systems and combat lasers.

Moreover, at an online meeting of NATO defense ministers on October 22 of this year, it was decided that the North Atlantic Alliance would create its own military space center. It will be located at the Ramstein airbase, where the Alliance Air Force command is located today. This is consistent with the logic of NATO's military space strategy adopted last year, in which the near-earth space is directly declared its "sphere of operational activity." Russia, willy-nilly, will have to act in the new realities that are being imposed on us. Otherwise, we will simply be kicked out of space, excuse the expression. And in the literal sense of the word.

The Chief of Staff of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, during a space defense conference held just last week, bluntly stated that the future global armed conflict is likely to "originate on Earth", but at the same time " very quickly it will be transferred to near-earth space. " It was there, in the opinion of the marshal, in fact, that "his final outcome will be decided." What do we end up with?

Alas, Russia simply does not have the funds to continue to engage in peaceful research, and even in a company with the most likely potential enemy, while simultaneously building up its own defense potential in the space industry. The ISS, of course, is a pity - after all, not only work has been invested in it, but it can be said, the soul of several generations of domestic scientists, developers, testers, and masters of high-tech industries. Nevertheless, the creation of its own plant, about which "dual purpose" is already being discussed quite openly in Energia today, is becoming at the current stage one of the top priority issues of national security, as well as the "finishing" and implementation of other promising developments ... Such, for example, as declared by "Roscosmos" creation of a "space tug" on nuclear power.

It is clear that neither Americans nor Europeans should be allowed to approach such projects under any circumstances and for any money. Chinese comrades? Well, these are not very eager to share their secrets with us - both the military and technical... However, at least ad hoc cooperation between Moscow and Beijing in the space industry is possible. At least due to the fact that both of our countries see both the United States and NATO as their main enemies in orbit. To our great regret, despite all the declarations proclaimed for decades and years that there is no place for weapons and confrontation in near-earth space, it will no longer be peaceful. This is not the fault of our country, however, we also cannot afford to ignore this fact on the principle of "maybe it will carry it through". If space is destined to become a new arena of confrontation between Russia and the West, we must be fully prepared for it.
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. Bulanov Offline Bulanov
    Bulanov (Vladimir) 1 December 2020 11: 13
    If in the USSR money was allocated for space in the required amount, now this money is stupidly withdrawn from the country beyond the cordon. And there NASA and other "spacemen" are sponsored with this money. If instead of taking money abroad, they would go to Russian space, then there would be fewer problems and better achievements! And Russian science no longer wants to work for a penny. The average salary of a researcher in Russia is 14 thousand rubles - 200 US dollars. How much does a researcher get in the USA or China?
    1. Dan Offline Dan
      Dan (Daniel) 1 December 2020 12: 16
      Quote: Bulanov
      If instead of taking money abroad, they would go to Russian space

      Do you know what "withdrawing money from the country" is? Who displays? On what grounds? Enough already to carry nonsense and rush with incomprehensible phrases ...
      1. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) 1 December 2020 12: 47
        what is "withdrawal of money from the country".

        Then listen to academicians S. Glazyev, Katasonov, M. Delyagin, they will prove it both with numbers and facts ... You can also see it on Yu-tube ...
        1. Victor_4 Offline Victor_4
          Victor_4 (Victor Alekseev) 1 December 2020 16: 38
          You can listen to the grandmothers at the entrance!
          1. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) 1 December 2020 18: 08
            If they are academics, then yes ...
        2. Dan Offline Dan
          Dan (Daniel) 2 December 2020 06: 59
          Quote: Vladimir Tuzakov
          Then listen to academicians S. Glazyev, Katasonov, M. Delyagin

          Listening to talker theorists? There is no more stupid activity. If it was illegal to withdraw money abroad, they would initiate a case. In fact, a significant part of this finding is money received by foreign investors as a return on their investments. All economies in the world are striving to improve their investment climate. We, too. The withdrawal of part of the profit by investors is an inevitable consequence of this policy. This is completely normal.

          Quote: Vladimir Tuzakov
          they will prove it both with numbers and facts ...

          It would be better if they proved it by the withdrawal of subsidized regions into profit. And to shake your tongue is not to run a household. Let them prove by real deeds that their figures and facts are worth something.
          1. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) 2 December 2020 15: 33
            When the policy of state financial regulators (Central Bank, Ministry of Finance) is built on the profit of foreign, mainly speculative capital, such a policy is called a betrayal of national interests. And the noodles will slip off your ears if you listen to these economists with scientific degrees. But you won't listen, you are the defender of the plunder of Russia ...
    2. shonsu Offline shonsu
      shonsu (Shonsu) 2 December 2020 12: 21
      Stop chatting already. Specifically write, who, when, where and how much brought.
  2. gorenina91 Offline gorenina91
    gorenina91 (Irina) 1 December 2020 12: 21
    What is behind Russia's desire to abandon the ISS

    - Complete failure and complete failure of today's "Russian Cosmos" ...
    - And ... to put it more consistently and objectively ... then the complete failure of the political economic oligarchic rule in Russia ...
  3. amateur Offline amateur
    amateur (Victor) 1 December 2020 13: 10
    Dear Colleagues! Can anyone, responsibly, without emotions and shuffling "tudy-syudy", explain why AT ALL (not only the Russian Federation, etc.) a permanent orbital station? What is being studied and / or produced on it that cannot be done with uninhabited vehicles? It may be better to send money to new lunar and / or Martian programs, rather than crawling the same thing since 1971 (Salyut-1). From the point of view of obtaining new scientific knowledge, this can be much more effective.
    ps The Chinese need such a station for "prestige" and self-affirmation as a "great space power". And the rest?
    1. Bulanov Offline Bulanov
      Bulanov (Vladimir) 1 December 2020 13: 53
      Orbital stations are needed not only for the Earth, but also for the Moon. And there are a lot of tasks! At least remote control of robots from the orbit of the Moon to build the necessary objects on the ground. And the work of survival in space during long flights to Mars, for example?
    2. monman Offline monman
      monman (Garik Mokin) 2 December 2020 00: 00
      Can anyone, responsibly, without emotions and shuffling "tudy-syudy", explain why AT ALL (not only the Russian Federation, etc.) a permanent orbital station?

      Victor, orbital stations are needed for the simple reason that weightlessness gives completely different experimental results that are impossible on earth. But your question is the cart before the horse. Because a horse is the amount that a country allocates for peaceful space. In Russia, space is now funded in the Soviet way - a residual principle. Anywhere, but into space - then. Russia began to live within its means, i.e. no money for space. And you have to get used to it.
      Russia itself will not raise space - Russia “proudly” refused to cooperate with the United States (although it could save money and gain access to technologies), and Russia has nothing to offer China (China is already ahead).
      So what remains is to live with memories ...
      1. amateur Offline amateur
        amateur (Victor) 2 December 2020 06: 18
        orbital stations are needed for the simple reason that weightlessness gives completely different experimental results that are impossible on earth.

        What experiments and what results? THERE ARE NO. You don't know either. Your comment once again convinces you that at the current stage of cosmonautics, DOS (long-term orbital stations) in Earth orbit are no longer needed. Is this why they began to carry tourists.
        1. Dan Offline Dan
          Dan (Daniel) 2 December 2020 07: 09
          Quote: layman
          What experiments and what results? THERE ARE NO.

          It is foolish to try to tell a mole about the sky. A person born to translate food is incapable of thinking on a large scale. Space is not a shoe stall; the space station is a laboratory for fundamental science. The fact that the country receives from it, from the station, can be discussed by a person somewhat initiated into scientific research.
          1. amateur Offline amateur
            amateur (Victor) 2 December 2020 08: 30
            Dan (Daniel) Today, 07:09
            It is foolish to try to tell a mole about the sky. A person born to translate food is incapable of thinking on a large scale. Space is not a shoe stall

            Sometimes, looking from the porch to the courtyard and the pond, he talked about how nice it would be if suddenly an underground passage was made from the house or a stone bridge was built across the pond, on which there would be shops on both sides, and that merchants and sold various small goods needed by the peasants.
            (N.V. Gogol. Dead Souls)

            What specific scientific experiments have been carried out on the ISS over the past 3 years?
            1. The comment was deleted.
      2. 123 Offline 123
        123 (123) 3 December 2020 01: 40
        Russia began to live within its means, i.e. no money for space. And you have to get used to it.

        It would be nice for you to learn this too. The first time will be difficult, but get used to it, it will be beneficial yes

        So what remains is to live with memories ...

        Let's see which of your candidates will survive until the new term and what will happen to the lunar program. Then we will be clever winked
  4. Yuri Kharitonov Offline Yuri Kharitonov
    Yuri Kharitonov (Yuri Kharitonov) 1 December 2020 17: 39
    The ISS is needed to support the exterior of the rocket manufacturers. Otherwise kirdyk. Will fade.
  5. Michael I Offline Michael I
    Michael I (Michael I) 2 December 2020 22: 27
    I did not understand the claims to the United States about the Space Forces. Isn't Russia the first to proudly rename the Air Force to the Aerospace Forces?
  6. Ibuprofen Offline Ibuprofen
    Ibuprofen (Novel) 2 December 2020 23: 51
    Oh, what a pity that you can't use foul language! So I want to speak!
    Can Rogozin be launched into space? To Mars right away? Or to Venus, he wanted there too.
  7. Dmitry Donskoy Offline Dmitry Donskoy
    Dmitry Donskoy (Dmitry Donskoy) 3 December 2020 08: 45
    It's fantastic ...
  8. Victor Abdyshev Offline Victor Abdyshev
    Victor Abdyshev (Victor Abdyshev) 4 December 2020 00: 45
    Russia needs its own station, no matter how difficult it is in finances. Stop throwing US cosmonauts into the station on the cheap, increase the price 3-5 times, stop selling rocket engines and stop making titanium parts for space and aircraft for them, start loading these enterprises with their Russian orders. Enough to call the United States and the West partners and friends, these are obvious ENEMIES, who do not hide this, why Russia always softens its words in their direction. Since Russia is POWERFUL, let them be the first to extend their hand for friendship, and we will still think about whether we need their "FRIENDSHIP".
  9. Alexey Tekutov Offline Alexey Tekutov
    Alexey Tekutov (Alexey Tekutov) 4 December 2020 01: 45
    Have you removed the red-faced thief? What should Russia do with this wretched ISS now? Sink your block in the pacific ocean. The new Rosnanovite should be tasked with developing and launching a new Russian module within 2 years. China will do it easily. Simply, the constructor will be given a condition either a module or a life. And AK sprinkles brains very ugly ...
  10. Anchonsha Offline Anchonsha
    Anchonsha (Anchonsha) 4 December 2020 19: 58
    Everything is clear that space is a costly business, but it is necessary so as not to be left without eyes and readiness to maintain security for Russia.
  11. Vassiliy Offline Vassiliy
    Vassiliy (vasily mantulenko) 4 December 2020 21: 59
    Governors and colonels steal more, we need to borrow from them at a small percentage and our space will flourish.
  12. ODRAP Offline ODRAP
    ODRAP (Alexey) 5 December 2020 02: 27
    Well, there is still no money, if the military budget is proposed to be sequestered ...
  13. Yurets Offline Yurets
    Yurets (Yuri) 5 December 2020 17: 07
    It's time to resolve the issue of taxes on luxury and super-profits, otherwise, without funds for science, for armaments, for ensuring a decent life for Russians, our "partners" will tear us to pieces, sometimes by force, and sometimes by bribery of the political elite, scientists! But all that is needed is political will ...
  14. misanthrope Offline misanthrope
    misanthrope (misanthrope) 6 December 2020 08: 14
    Because of this ISS, China does not seek cooperation with us in space. Drowned in due time, to please the "amerikos" "Mir". It would be better if they gave it to China.
  15. alexey alexeyev_2 (Alexey Alekseev) 6 December 2020 11: 08
    Yes, it’s better to quit with these partners ourselves, and not wait for them to be asked to leave. Let them look for another cab. They have their own mask coachman.
  16. Andrey Savichev Offline Andrey Savichev
    Andrey Savichev (Andrey Savichev) 6 December 2020 13: 45
    I fully support those who are in favor of ending any cooperation with the Americans and Europeans who support the American sanctions against Russia in Space. Russia has a chance to succeed in Space and profit from it!