NASA answers questions about what happens if Russia abandons the ISS

NASA has answered FAQs regarding how the International Space Station's continued operation relies on cooperation with Russia.

Published Fri, Mar 18 2022 4:01 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Apr 14 2022 4:01 AM CDT

NASA has uploaded a new blog post addressing frequently asked questions about the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA answers questions about what happens if Russia abandons the ISS 01 |

The blog post describes all the countries and their respective space agencies involved in the operation of the ISS. It also describes the ISS's interdependencies, highlighting a long list of examples of essential capabilities controlled or enabled by Russian technology on board. For example, all of the space station's propulsion is handled by the Russian Segment of the ISS, with the propellant supplied by the Russian Progress cargo spacecraft.

Five partner agencies (the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the State Space Corporation "Roscosmos") operate the International Space Station, with each partner responsible for managing and controlling the hardware it provides. The station was designed to be interdependent and relies on contributions from across the partnership to function. No one partner currently has the capability to function without the other, NASA wrote in the post.

"The space station was not designed to be disassembled, and current interdependencies between each segment of the station prevent the U.S. Orbital Segment and Russian Segment from operating independently. Attempts to detach the U.S. Orbital Segment and the Russian Segment would encounter major logistical and safety challenges given the multitude of external and internal connections, the need to control spacecraft attitude and altitude, and software interdependency," NASA wrote.

The space station requires continual hands-on maintenance by its crew to continue operating in the U.S Operating Segment and Russian Segment. NASA astronauts and Roscosmos cosmonauts are not trained to operate the others' segment without assistance. In the event of a failure scenario in either segment, only its respective crew would be able to respond to it fully.

NASA and Roscosmos will need to work together to de-orbit the space station eventually, which will require the use of Russian Progress spacecraft to support the operation. NASA is currently evaluating whether U.S. commercial spacecraft could be modified to assist in the operation if cooperation between the two space agencies ceases.

For information on more of the FAQs, check out the NASA website here.

Buy at Amazon

International Space Station - ISS Flag Logo T-Shirt

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
* Prices last scanned on 5/23/2022 at 9:43 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

Newsletter Subscription

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles