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Russia to pull out of International Space Station after 2024 

Russia is set to pull out of the International Space Station after 2024, according to the Associated Press and a report from state-run news agency TASS.

Why it matters: The ISS has tied Russia and the U.S. together in space for decades, and the end of the space station program could mean the end of that relationship.

  • During times of high tension on Earth — like during the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and today during the invasion of Ukraine — space has often been one of the only open avenues of communication between the two nations.

Driving the news: “The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made,” Yuri Borisov, the newly-appointed head of Roscosmos — Russia’s space agency — told Russian President Vladimir Putin according to the AP.

  • After 2024, Roscosmos is planning to focus on building its own space station. 
  • “We haven’t received any official word from the partner as to the news today.” Robyn Gatens, NASA’s director of the International Space Station, said during remarks at a conference today. “We’ll be talking more about their plan going forward.”

The big picture: It’s not clear whether the space station can remain operational without Russia after 2024.

  • “They have been good partners as all of our partners are,” Gatens said of Russia. “And we want to continue together as a partnership to continue operating the space station through the decade.”
  • NASA is planning to send astronauts to private space stations after the end of the ISS, but those stations likely won’t be available until the late 2020s.

Miriam Krame | Axios

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