The US and European embargo towards Russia resulted in retaliatory sanctions from Moscow that put the development of crucial international space projects into question.

Roskosmos, in response to the UE sanctions imposed on Russia, informed about suspending cooperation with the European partners in organizing space launches from the Kourou cosmodrome and withdrawing its 87-people technical personnel from French Guiana. Rockets Soyuz have been used to lift off satellites of the European navigation system Galileo. The EU declared that they will be replaced by Ariane rockets. The French operator of cosmodrome Arianespace has used three types of rockets in Kourou – Ariane, Vega and Soyuz-ST (a variant of Soyuz-2). Soyuz-ST fills the medium-lift category. The first Soyuz-ST launched from Kourou in 2011.

Russians also ceased cooperation with NASA on the development of the scientific space mission to Venus „Venera-D”. It is aimed to study the composition of the atmosphere and the surface of Venus like the American Magellan probe in 1990 was studied. The mission was about to start in 2029. It is worth mentioning NASAl is in parallel developing its own Venus projects, such as VERITAS and DAVINCI + (construction of respectively orbiter and probe).

It seems that the two major cooperative programs, the International Space Station and ExoMars are still on track. NASA declared to continue cooperation on this crucial venture however, Roskomos warned NASA that breaking off the cooperation would result in deorbitation and descending the ISS from space due to the fact its orbital position is maintained by engines placed in the Russian module of the Station. As a response, SpaceX suggested using its Crew Dragon spacecraft in order to replace the Russian module of the ISS and take control of its orbital position. Crew Dragon has been delivering astronauts and supplying food to the Station for 2020.

The European Space Agency declares to continue the European-Russian mission to Mars „ExoMars 2022”, being in advanced progress now. The ESA rover „Rosalind Franklin” with the Russian landing platform „Kozachok” were planned to be launched by the Russian carrier rocket Proton-M from cosmodrome Baikonur in autumn 2022.


Picture: NASA