Ukraine invasion halts space collaboration

in STEMGeeks4 months ago
Hello dear friends.

We are all attentive to the development of the war in Ukraine, it is regrettable the loss of lives in any context, and more so when agreements cannot be reached through diplomatic channels. And among the consequences of the invasion of this country by Russia is the deterioration of relations that have allowed collaboration in space matters.

Invasion of Ukraine adds tension to civilian space collaboration. Fuente:

In this regard, we can cite a statement from the European Space Agency (ESA) in which it points out its rejection of the actions of the Russian government, and as a result of the sanctions imposed by the European Union, it is unlikely that the launch of the ExoMars mission, whose objective is to take to Mars the first rover developed by the ESA in conjunction with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, will be carried out.

The ExoMars mission was scheduled to be launched in July 2020, but the pandemic forced the agencies to delay the mission until September this year, and in addition to the European rover, the mission also includes the Kazachok surface platform of the Roscosmos agency. So this project involving both agencies has been postponed due to the sanctions imposed on Russia. It is important to note that the purpose of the mission is to place a rover that would explore the Martian surface in search of signs of life, or any sign that it may have existed on the red planet.

One consequence of the conflict is the delay of the mission that would put the first European rover on Mars. Fuente:

Another program that will be affected is the launch of Soyuz rockets from ESA's spaceport in French Guiana, since in response to the European sanctions, Russia is withdrawing its cooperation to provide rockets for its satellites; so the European agency will be forced to evaluate other launch services for the different payloads they plan to put into orbit, which could include the Vega C or Ariane 6 launchers. However, this action will delay the launch into orbit of several satellites and the Euclid space telescope.

Another sensitive issue is collaboration in space, specifically with respect to the International Space Station (ISS) of which Russia is a major partner and in which it has its own module in the permanently manned space complex. In this regard, the head of Roscosmos issued a stark warning, stating that if NASA refused to collaborate with them, who would prevent the ISS from entering an uncontrolled orbit and falling into the United States or Europe? Which is somewhat disturbing since the ISS orbit is controlled by Russian engines. And although NASA stated that current operations will continue, the warning still sounds like a threat to use the ISS as a weapon.

Russia adds tension to ISS collaboration. Source: Maxpixel.

But although cooperation between NASA and Roscosmos continues on the ISS, the head of Roscosmos emphasized that cooperation with the United States on the international research mission Venera-D is inappropriate. This is a project consisting of an interplanetary descent probe intended to explore the planet Venus, although it is a Russian project, in 2013 a scientific development team was formed with American colleagues, who have been working on this project since 2015.

On the other hand, Russia will also stop supplying rocket engines to the United States, also ceasing to service the rocket engines already owned by NASA, as a response to the sanctions imposed by the United States. This was pointed out by the head of Roscosmos in an interview for Russian television, to which he added "let them fly on their brooms", suggesting that US astronauts will have to go into orbit with means other than Russian-made rocket engines.

Russia stops sending rocket engines to the U.S. Source:

This is undoubtedly a major setback in space matters, and a very painful one, since for years a great cooperation in the area of civil space research had been built up, bringing the great powers closer together, breaking the balance and the links achieved in this area after the end of the Cold War. Now space science in Russia may have to assume the consequences of the isolation of its former partners, which could affect its long space career.

Thanks for coming by to read friends, I hope you liked the information. See you next time.


Good point, certainly all the progress that had been developing jointly where the power states were collaborating practically in favor of creating a cutting edge space model, all that scenario changes with the current war conflict between Russia and Ukraine, maybe the tensions will tone down in the following days, and return to normality.

Best regards, be well.

Yes my friend, the conflict has affected all the programs that were being developed between these states, which is a stumbling block to joint civilian space exploration, which had already brought these nations closer together.