Space station split: Russia is withdrawing from the ISS.

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Switching stations

Russia has said that it will be withdrawing from the International Space Station (ISS) after 2024, effectively ending over two decades of space-based cooperation with the West.

Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov assured Putin that they would be putting together their own orbiting outpost alternative by then, though NASA officials responded saying that they hadn’t ‘received any official word’ on the Russian departure plans.

Needing some space

The first segments of the ISS — the joint project of 5 major agencies — were launched in late 1998 with the US and Russia working particularly closely to establish the formative foundations of the station.

Since then, the space station has been a very public show of collaboration, playing host to international astronauts, millionaire space tourists, and even an ambitious two-person film crew. All told, more than 80% of all visitors to the ISS have been American or Russian.

More recently, however, US-Russian relations have soured. The Russian invasion of Ukraine — and the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies as a result — have left relations between the nations arguably at their worst since the end of the Cold War.

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