Russian official predicts ‘avalanche’ of disruptions on International Space Station after 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) meets Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, July 26, 2022.

Photo of Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool

  • Russia’s top space official says the country will leave the International Space Station after 2024.
  • The Russian sections of the ISS will have an “avalanche” of technical glitches around that time, he said.
  • The ISS already has aging failures and Russia wants to build itself a new station.
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The director of the Russian space program has warned that chaos in the cosmos awaits when Russia leaves the International Space Station after 2024.

That’s when Roscosmos director Yuri Borisov expects an “avalanche” of technical failures aboard the ISS due to outdated hardware, according to a statement published Friday on the website of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

“When we talk about the timing of the termination of Russian participation in the ISS project, we announced that we want to do this not from 2024, but after 2024,” Borisov said, according to a Google translation of his statement. “Based on the opinion of our strength engineers, reliability specialists, who predict that after 2024 avalanche-like processes are possible due to the failure of various equipment in the ISS modules.”

Mark Vande Hei (background) and Pyotr Dubrov train on a computer aboard the International Space Station, December 28, 2021.


Borisov added that Russia could leave the ISS in mid-2024, when the country’s commitment to the station ends, or even closer to 2025.

NASA expects to continue using the ISS until 2030, despite the technical difficulties that have increased in recent years.

Cracks have appeared in the Russian part of the station. In 2020, a toilet in the segment broke down, temperatures mysteriously rose and an oxygen supply system broke down. In September 2019, the Zvezda module, which provides living space for the cosmonauts, began to leak air.

The International Space Station, as pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavor during a scenic flight on November 8, 2021.


With such problems mounting, Borisov said it would be more beneficial for Russia to invest in the construction of a new station.

“Today, the time our cosmonauts, including American astronauts, spend looking for and eliminating possible malfunctions is beginning to exceed all reasonable limits,” Borisov added. “This comes at the expense of scientific research. If you spend time on recovery, it doesn’t stop with scientific programs,” he said.

After Russia imposed global sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, it announced it would stop selling rocket engines to the US. It has also halted scientific cooperation with Germany aboard the ISS.

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