Putin: We will build Russian space station by 2023

Vladimir Putin used his appearance on a television show last week to announce Russian plans to build a national replacement for the International Space Station (ISS) once it reaches the end of its design life.  

The ISS (pictured) is due to be decommissioned in 2023, and at present there is no agreement in place to build a successor. 

The president said a new station was necessary, but that it would be designed to suit Russia’s needs. He said: "We use the ISS for science and the economy, but from the ISS only 5% of the area of Russia can be seen. 

"From a national station, of course, we will be able to see the whole territory of our vast country." 

Putin was quoted by Sputnik News as saying: "By 2023 we are going to create our own national orbital station. We will definitely bring this project to fruition and it will be under our control." 

Dmitri Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister, recently said the country would continue to stay with the ISS in the meantime. It had been suggested that the parts that Russia had contributed to the ISS should be removed and reused on the national station. 

Russia is presently the world’s leading space power. The US, which has not replaced its space shuttles, relies on Russia for low orbit transportation. However, Charles Bolden, the head of NASA, told a congressional subcommittee last week: "We are facilitating the development of a US commercial crew transportation capability with the goal of launching NASA astronauts from American soil in the next couple of years. This initiative … will end our sole reliance on Russia."  

Funding for Russia’s federal space programme by 2025 will be an estimated $40bn. 

Russia is currently building a Cosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region. Workers on this project recently went on hunger strike over unpaid wages. 

Image: The current International Space Station (NASA)

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