Russia leaves the International Space Station: what we know and what can happen now

from Massimo Sideri

Space was the most powerful communication tool of the technological clash between the US and the USSR during the Cold War. Now the Russian abandonment of the ISS like a diamond transmitting clues in all directions

difficult to look at the International Space Station as one of many scenarios of the escalation of tension between Russia and the West, without charging it with a dangerous circumstantial value. Not only because the conquest of space – from the mockery of the first Soviet flag literally crashing on the moon in 1959 to Gagarin, the first Communist in Space in 1961, to the US moon landing in 1969 – was the most powerful communication tool of the technological clash between the US and the USSR during the Cold War. But also why the announcement today does not come from just any man of the Putinian nomenclaturebut by former Deputy Prime Minister of the Federation Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos (the Russian space agency), talkative and aggressive hawk of the most extreme wing that he would like a new drift of the geopolitical continentsafter a painstakingly put together pangea since 1991.

Rogozin, often in front of Russian cameras, may seem like a consummate talk show man, always ready to shoot big, but actually a slim calculator: he anticipates as a hyperbolic joke what an idea is developing like a mold in his political laboratory. You use the TV and social networks to make media cores. He was the one to say that, due to Western sanctions, the ISS could have fallen to Earth (adding amused that the Station’s orbit could not have fallen on mother Russia).

Moreover, from the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine he had Roscosmos prepare a digital film in which the Russian modules of the ISS were detached from the Western ones (which is, however, impossible). For this reason, although the date is not known, the abandonment of the International Space Station by the Russians like a diamond that transmits clues in all directions: on the long times of the war.

On overcoming a point of no return towards a new cold globalization between the Asian and Western blocs. On the failure of scientific diplomacy, a mechanism that also worked during the Cold War and that only a month ago, with the embrace between the new cosmonauts and the Americans, seemed to leave Space freed from the force of gravity of war. And one last clue about one kind of cheap western rat trap: Rogozin knows well that the old ISS. He already has the expiration date: 203o. Precipiter in a programmed manner on the Point Nemoin the Pacific, the most distant place from all the emerged lands, the satellite cemetery where also the Mir, the Russian station, was drowned.

Not saying when, but announcing that the collaboration also has an expiration date, Rogozin is hissing between the lines that Russia wants to leave the hefty divestment bill to pay. Not certain a good climate to manage for Samantha Cristoforetti that, before February 24, she would have had to leave to take command of the entire station (she also speaks Russian). And that she is the leader of the Western group anyway. Upon her arrival she discovered that the cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev, on Thursday, they had taken advantage of extravehicular activity for to fly the replica of the Victory Banner in the cosmic voidhoisted on the Reichstag on May 1, 1945. The same that the Russian troops leave in Ukraine.

The announcement also one litmus test of the times of conflict: long, longer than expected. At this point with the rupture of the painstakingly built pangea since the times of Ronald Reagan and Michail Gorbachev (the ISS was originally the US star shield, reconverted thanks to the thawing of the Cold War), Russia is likely to catch up with an emerging space force, Chinawhich has recently brought stones back from the Moon. Europe will be severely affected. With Russia we had to bring the first ESA Rover, with Italian technology, to Mars. Now parked in Turin. It is difficult to move from there.

May 1, 2022 (change May 1, 2022 | 11:26)

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Russia leaves the International Space Station: what we know and what can happen now

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