Russia is becoming very skilled at making threats. Today, Vladimir Putin threatened to launch a nuclear war. According to media reports, Putin put Russia’s nuclear forces “high alert.”
Dmitry Rogozin (director-general of Russia’s space program Roscosmos) tweeted a threat to International Space Station. He said that U.S. sanctions and NATO sanctions could “destroy cooperation on the ISS.”
There are currently four NASA astronauts and two Russian cosmonauts aboard the space station. One European astronaut is also onboard.
Rogozin responded on Twitter to Rogozin’s statement: “If we block cooperation with you, who will save ISS from an uncontrolled orbit and fall into the United States of Europe?”
He said: India and China have the option to drop a 500-ton steel structure. Are you willing to make a threat by threatening them with such a possibility? Russia is not the ISS, so you are responsible for all risks. Are you prepared for them?
Rogozin mentioned that the ISS’s orbit and location in space is controlled by Russian Progress MS cargo ships.
According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the Russian segment of ISS is responsible navigation, guidance and control of the whole complex. Russia’s Progress cargo ships sometimes give the ISS a lift into higher orbits when needed.
Rogozin pointed out Russia’s control function on the ISS and said Biden was “out of the loop”. He did not know that Russia’s systems allow the space station to avoid “dangerous associations with space junk.”
Rogozin did not mention Russia’s blocking of international cooperation to limit space debris. The ISS must conduct maneuvers several times a year to avoid dangerous space junk.
Rogozin isn’t making idle threats. Roscosmos’s withdrawal of cooperation would have a severe impact on the station’s operations.
NASA would need to find a way to keep the station in orbit so it does not fall into the atmosphere. NASA is dependent on Russia.
The Russians heavily depend on NASA to keep their space station operational. NASA is responsible for controlling the orbit of the space station and for providing electricity to power the vehicle.
Hopefully the war between the U.S. space agencies and Russia’s will be short-lived and not cause a major disruption in relations.