In July 2022, Russia announced that it would leave from International Space Station (ISS) and build its own space station by 2024 or later. The background of this news comes from Yuri Borisov, the newly appointed head of the space agency Roscosmos, said during a meeting with Vladimir Putin that Russia would fulfil the obligations to the partners on the ISS before leaving the project. Back to basic, what is the purpose and role of the International Space Station? This time, I would like to take a look at the basic knowledge about ISS and the space development plan with NASA in the future.
About International Space Station (ISS)
The International Space Station (ISS) is a manned experimental facility constructed about 400 km above the ground, and is jointly operated by agreements of 15 countries centred on the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. It is orbiting the Earth. Construction began in outer space in 1998 and was completed in July 2011. We are still conducting various experiments and research using the special space environment.
The main purpose of the International Space Station (ISS) is to conduct scientific experiments in outer space. Thousands of scientific experiments have been carried out in the past. In addition, with the participation of multiple nations, including developed countries, each country has the role of cooperating in space development. Moreover, NASA is planning to balance commercialization by private space travellers by conducting demonstration experiments for exploration of the Moon and Mars in the experimental building inside the International Space Station (ISS).
Russia will be leaving from the ISS
So far, Russia and the United States have been successful in collaborating on the International Space Station (ISS) since 1998 with other partner countries such as Japan, Canada and European countries. However, since Russia invaded Ukraine, the relationship between the two has deteriorated. Russia originally warned that it would leave from the ISS project because of sanctions by Western countries. According to news on July 28 in 2022, NASA has not yet received a formal notice from Russia.
The International Space Station was originally approved for joint operation until 2024, but with the consent of all partners, the United States intends to extend its operation period for another six years and is under discussion. Russia has not decided to leave suddenly. It will leave as planned because it will fulfil the mission until 2024, which is the original deadline, and will not agree on extended operation after that.
Future plan: ISS and NASA
In recent years, the International Space Station (ISS) has been in the limelight for commercial space travel. According to news in December 2021, Yusaku Maezawa, the founder and businessman of ZOZO, a major clothing store, boarded Soyuz in Russia and stayed on the ISS for the first time among Japanese civilians. It is attracting attention.
Astronaut Koichi Wakata of JAXA is also scheduled to board the US SpaceX private spacecraft “Crew Dragon” in September 2022, and will face the mission of long-term stay in the future. The astronaut missions are currently unclear.
NASA planned to conduct demonstration experiments for exploration of the moon and Mars inside the International Space Station (ISS) to achieve commercialization by private space travellers as well. However, the confrontation between Russia and Western countries, which was triggered by the invasion of Ukraine, has ignited the space development plan of humankind, and there are concerns about the future.
Entering 2022, the US space company Axiom Space published news and they made the first private company to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 8 (US time). This space trip is 10 days. Departed from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on another space company SpaceX spacecraft Dragon and stayed on the ISS for eight days. A plan to ride the dragon again and return to the earth. As NASA and others shift their focus to manned exploration of the Moon and Mars, the travel business using outer space near the earth called “low orbit” will lead to work and life in space in the future. The research is about to begin in earnest.
- The International Space Station (ISS) is jointly operated under the agreements of 15 countries including the United States and Russia. It’s orbiting the earth.
- The purpose/role of the ISS is scientific experiments in outer space and cooperative space development between nations.
- Commercialization plans such as space travel by private companies are likely to be realized in the future.
- NASA will shift their focus to manned exploration of the Moon and Mars.
Since space development is a challenge to the unknown world, I hope that we will reaffirm our original purpose and role, share the wisdom of humankind, and proceed jointly, rather than acting alone as in Russia and the United States. In 2022, there was some news that some people travelled in space, and the attention to the International Space Station is increasing year by year. In the future, some people may have their addresses in space.