Russia plans to create core of new space station by 2030

(Reuters) – Russia is aiming to create the four-module core of its planned new orbital space station by 2030, its Roscosmos space agency said on Tuesday.

The head of Roscosmos, Yuri Borisov, signed off on the timetable with the directors of 19 enterprises involved in creating the new station.

The agency confirmed plans to launch an initial scientific and energy module in 2027. It said three more modules would be added by 2030 and a further two between 2031 and 2033.

Russia has until now partnered with the United States and other countries on the International Space Station, one of the few areas where it still collaborates closely with the U.S. given the dire state of relations since its invasion of Ukraine.

With the ISS approaching the end of its operational life, Moscow announced plans in 2022 to pull out of the project and build its own station. It initially said it would quit the ISS after 2024, but told its partners last year it would extend its participation until 2028.

Apart from the design and manufacture of the modules, Roscomos said the schedule approved by Borisov includes flight-testing a new-generation crewed spacecraft and building rockets and ground-based infrastructure.

The new station will enable Russia to “solve problems of scientific and technological development, national economy and national security that are not available on the Russian segment of the ISS due to technological limitations and the terms of international agreements”, it said.

Russia has prided itself on its space programme since the Cold War, when Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to travel into space in 1961. But it suffered a major setback last year with the failure of its first lunar mission in 47 years, when its uncrewed spacecraft spun out of control and smashed into the surface of the moon.

(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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