Russia threatens to militarise space to battle Western 'hostility' but experts doubtful


As Russian troops continue their attacks in Ukraine following the invasion on February 24, Russia has been hit with waves of crippling economic sanctions from the West. Speaking on Sputnik radio on Monday, Dmitry Rogozin, director general of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, announced the country’s planned Russian Orbital Service Station (ROSS) would be “an applied-military station”.

Mr Rogozin, who is an outspoken supporter of Putin’s regime and of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, stated this announcement was a retaliation to a “hostile world”, Russian news agency TASS stated.

The General Director also added only Russian astronauts would be allowed on the station, which differs from the International Space Station which is a collaboration with several countries, including Russia.

Under Mr Rogozin’s leadership, Roscosmos has shifted towards Russian independence in space, experts state.

However, news of such an independent Russian space station amid the heavy economic sanctions has caused Western experts to doubt the plausibility.

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She told Newsweek: “In practice, I would say we have some time before starting to worry, considering how fast Russian space station modules are getting built.

“For instance, the latest Russian ISS module, Nauka, experienced a decade delay due to the various issues the Russian space industry has been struggling with since the dismantlement of the USSR: interruption of part of the production line, corruption, lack of funding, and loss of expertise and qualification in high technology.

“Rogozin mentioned that the first module of a new, fully Russian station could be launched in 2026.

“Considering that Roscosmos only commissioned a feasibility study to Energia, its main constructor, in late 2021 for this new space station, and considering the time and resources this requires, this timeline doesn’t seem plausible.”

She continued: “Most of his decisions are not supported either by some of his executive directors, cosmonauts who have been trained with international astronauts and in ISS partners’ training facilities for the past 20 years, nor by a large portion of engineers involved at various scales of the Russian space program.”


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