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Russia voluntarily disengages from the space programs, including the private ones

The Russian space agency Roscosmos then dropped the launch from a launcher carrying satellites for the ONEWEB project as a continuation of punitive measures against the West in the field of space

Soyuz launcher on the launch pad in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Illustration:
Soyuz launcher on the launch pad in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Illustration:

This is after the demands of the Russians that the British government, which holds shares in the project, withdraw from it and that ONEWEB undertake that the satellites will not be used for military purposes have not been met.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, began this week a series of actions to stop cooperation in the field of space following the economic embargo imposed by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and other countries. The field of space is a field where Russia is still among the leaders and even served for years as the only transport of astronauts into space.

The head of the agency, Dmitry Rogozin, who threatened earlier this week to bring down the International Space Station to Earth, said that the agency is moving into action when it comes to cooperation in space. At the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan operated by Russia, a Soyuz rocket carrying satellites of the ONEWEB project was transferred. This is after the company did not meet the conditions according to which the British government was asked to sell its share in OneWeb, and OneWeb would guarantee that the satellites would not be used for military purposes.

OneWeb said in response that it is suspending all launches of its satellites from Baikonur. It is not known what will happen to the satellites located in Baikonur, whether they will be destroyed or used as a bargaining chip. It should be noted that as part of the project, about 600 satellites should be launched into low orbit over several years, most of them using Soyuz launchers, either from Baikonur or from the space flight center in Kourou in French Guiana.

OneWeb is a British company that was previously partially owned by the Airbus aircraft company. In September 2021, it ran into difficulties and declared bankruptcy, the British government and the giant Japanese Softbank corporation and other investors bought it from the liquidator.

The sanctions are also expected to delay the launch of a joint Russian and European mission to mars which was originally planned for this summer. The space station is currently manned by an international crew consisting of two Russians, one German and four Americans.

The European Space Agency (ESA) said On Monday Because it fully implements the EU sanctions imposed on Russia and examines the consequences for existing plans.

And in the same matter, Roscosmos announced that it would no longer cooperate with Germany in scientific experiments on the Russian side of the International Space Station. "The Russian space program will be adjusted against the background of the sanctions, the priority will be the creation of satellites that will help protect Russia," the agency's Twitter account said. They announced that Russia would continue the experiments independently.

Roscosmos will also stop supplying Russian rocket engines to the US, and stop servicing those that already have provided, according to a tweet.

Last week, US President Joe Biden said that US sanctions "will hurt [Russia's] aerospace industry, including their space program."

In a series of tweets following Biden's announcement, the director of the Russian agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogosin, responded by warning that the sanctions could have serious consequences for the space station. In the message he stated that due to its trajectory, the space station could crash into the USA or Europe, but not into Russia.

In addition, Rogozin ordered his people in Baikonur to mark the equipment for transporting the launchers and erecting them, with the letters V and Z, the tactical symbol appearing on the Russian vessels that invaded Ukraine: "Baikonor sympathizes with the actions of our armed forces, supports our guys who fulfill their patriotic and military duty." wrote in a tweet.

NASA said this week that joint operations on the International Space Station continue and will continue as usual.  

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