The future of the International Space Station remains extremely vague. News reports about technical problems on board the ISS became, one might say, traditional.
The service life of the International Space Station extends till 2024. At the same time, now is the time to decide what should be done to the station afterwards. Late last year, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said that the future of the ISS would be determined in the first quarter of 2021.
"The fate of the ISS has not been fully decided yet, it will be determined, probably, in the first quarter of next year," Borisov told TASS. He also added that Roscosmos corporation plans to launch a new segment of the ISS, which is expected to become the basis for the Russian orbital station in the future.
It goes about "Nauka" ("Science") module, which will become a space laboratory for Russian cosmonauts.
Ivan Moiseev, the scientific director of the Institute of Space Policy, believes that stopping international cooperation was out of the question.
"There is an official permit to run the station till 2024 - till 2025, in fact. All the countries participating in the ISS agreement agreed to consider the issue of extending the service life of the station till 2028-2030 - that was six months ago," the expert told Pravda.Ru.
However, the situation took a turn due to a series of accidents on board the ISS.
"Those were insignificant accidents, but they create a relevant information background. The government had to decide. If it was not for those accidents, they would have quietly extended the service life of the ISS until 2028, and it would be beneficial to everyone. But when those accidents started happening, they led the general public to believe that the station was falling apart. There were official statements made about the need to finish its work," Ivan Moiseev said.
However, the expert believes that the work of the station should be extended.
"Therefore, the government apparently will make a decision on the matter in early 2021," he believes.
"When the service life of the International Space Station expires in 2024, the manned space program of the Russian Federation is going to end too. If one extends the ISS service life for five years, Russia will have time to build its own station. If the manned space program ends in 2024 together with the era of the ISS, then it will be extremely difficult for Russia to resume it afterwards," Ivan Moiseev said.