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Seemingly making good on threats that have been bandied about for months, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos officially announced that they will be ending their participation in the International Space Station after 2024. The prospect of the country departing the ISS popped up in April of 2021 when Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters that they were planning for such an exit due to the perceived deterioration of the space research facility. While some dismissed this as a bit of scientific saber rattling, it would appear that Russia is moving ahead with the plan as Yuri Borisov, the new head of Roscosmos, informed the AP that "the decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made" and that "by that time we will start forming a Russian orbiting station."

Russia's declaration raises a considerable amount of uncertainty with regards to the future of the ISS with many experts voicing concern that it would be extremely difficult for the United States to solely maintain the operation of the space station after 2024. While there had been hopes to extend the working agreement between the two nations to at least 2028 or even further into the future, tensions brought about by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the United States' role in aiding their adversary have made such cooperation rather unlikely. To that end, some have suggested that Borisov's announcement is part of a larger gambit aimed at finding some respite from sanctions that have been placed on the country's space industry.

One skeptic of the news is former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who opined on Twitter that "the Russians will try to stay as long as they can afford it" as the ISS "gives Putin needed credibility domestically and internationally." With that in mind, he called Borisov's post-2024 timetable "more vague, open-ended bluster." This sentiment was echoed by retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who mused that "remember that Russia's best game is chess." Although that may be the case and perhaps the two countries can find some reconciliation with regard to the ISS, the 24-year-old facility is likely to only be operational through around 2030, regardless of whether or not Russia sticks around to see it through to the end.

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