NASA is responsible for supplying electricity and life support, while the Russian side provides the propulsion that keeps the station in orbit.
The head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, threatened last week that the International Space Station could “collide with the United States or Europe” without Russian help. There are currently no concrete indications that Russia wants to withdraw from the project.
As a precaution, NASA is taking matters into its own hands anyway and is now exploring alternative options should Russia withdraw from the project. For example, space company Northrop Grumman has already offered to provide an alternative propulsion system. SpaceX will also be an option for this.
It is very difficult to work alone
However, according to Kathy Luders, head of NASA’s manned space program, there are no problems at the moment. She also said that Russian counterparts remain committed to all projects on the ISS.
“But we’re constantly looking at how we can work more flexibly,” Lueders says. She added that for now, these are only contingency plans. “It would be very difficult for us to work on our own. The International Space Station is an international project with interdependence.”
Elon Musk is ready
Business magnate Elon Musk announced on Twitter that his company, SpaceX, is ready to take on Russian responsibilities. He did this in response to Rogozin’s stinging sermon. When asked, “Who will save the International Space Station from collapsing out of control,” Musk answered Simply With the SpaceX logo.
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