The International Space Station (ISS) has spent 20 years opening the doors to professionals from around the world to carry out diverse collaborative investigations, experiments that have helped advance science and technology both in space and on Earth.
It is actually much more than a research laboratory, it is a post-Cold War diplomatic triumph, as there are several countries that manage the ISS, including Russia and the US.
The problem is that now Russia wants to leave. It is considering launching its own orbital space station in 2025 and withdrawing from the ISS Program to do it alone, information coming from AFP.
According to these reports, the Russian space agency has started work on the station’s first central module. Moscow says its decisions have to do with the fact that the ISS is already old, but it must be remembered that Russia lost control of access to the ISS last year after SpaceX conducted its first operational mission to the orbital laboratory of the United States. NASA (until then it was Russian rockets that took astronauts to the ISS).
On the other hand Putin also warned that the decision of the United States to launch a Space Force does not help to make a different decision:
[…] the White House sees the space as a military theater and plans to conduct operations there.
There are other diplomatic issues on the table, such as the Biden administration’s criticism of Russia’s treatment of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and mounting fears about a military conflict in Ukraine.