ISS: Former NASA astronaut responds to Russian threats
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On Saturday, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, went on yet another Twitter rant, demanding the end of Western sanctions on Russia as retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In an online thread, he announced that Russia would no longer cooperate with Western countries on board the International Space Station (ISS) until the sanctions are lifted.
Mr Rogozin claimed that the sanctions were intended to “kill the Russian economy and plunge our people into despair and hunger, to get our country on its knees”.
He also added that the Western sanctions “won’t succeed in it, but the intentions are clear”.
He continued: “That’s why I believe that the restoration of normal relations between the partners at the International Space Station (ISS) and other projects is possible only with full and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions.”
Roscosmos ending its cooperation onboard the ISS sounds alarm bells for space experts, as Russian made modules constitute a critical part of the 400-tonne space station.
The first two components of the ISS come from the Russian modules “Zarya” and “Zvezda”, which use their engines to raise the orbit of the ISS from time to time when the upper layers of the atmosphere begin slowing down the station.
If Vladimir Putin decided to decouple these two modules, some experts have warned that the ISS would only survive for a short period of time before it enters Earth’s atmosphere.
Mr Rogozin said that Roscosmos would soon brief Russian authorities on when to end cooperation over the ISS with space agencies of the US, Canada, the EU and Japan.
The Russian space chief has previously threatened to send the ISS into an uncontrolled crash into earth.
In a series of tweets, he said: “If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States or Europe?
“There is also the option of dropping the 500-ton structure to India and China.
“Do you want to threaten them with such a prospect?
“The ISS does not fly over Russia, so all the risks are yours. Are you ready for them?”
He also shared a horrifying map all the locations on Earth that the space station could crash into.
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The map shows that the ISS could crash nearly anywhere on Earth, with only Russia, part of Northern Europe and Northern Canada being relatively safe.
But former US astronaut Scott Kelly previously rubbished these claims.
He told ABC News: “I never thought I would hear anything so outrageous.
“I think it is just a crazy threat. It is not really based on reality.
“We do have the ability to control the orbit of the space station independent of the Russian space agency, so I don’t really see that happening.”
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