According to Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, Russia has plans to pull out of the International Space Station in favor of building and launching its own orbital platform within the next decade.
If this were to happen, it would spell the end of over 20 years of close co-operation between Russia and its international partners. In a world where relations are becoming increasingly strained between Russia and the US in particular, this co-operation had been seen as critically important.
Russian deputy PM Yuri Borisov stated at the weekend that Moscow would soon be giving notice to its international partners about its intention to withdraw from the ISS by 2025.
A Russian-built station would then be launched by as early as 2030.
Unlike the ISS, this new orbital outpost would not be permanently manned but would instead rely on robots and automated systems to maintain it in-between cosmonaut visits.
“If in 2030, in accordance with our plans, we can put it into orbit, it will be a colossal breakthrough,” said Rogozin. “The will is there to take a new step in world manned space exploration.”