SCW SteveWire


Despite Russia Tensions, U.S. Supports Extending ISS Operations Through 2030

(Article text ©2022 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - rferl.org - Jan. 1, 2022 - article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/iss-russia-united-states-cooperation/31635283.html) Despite increasing tensions with Russia, the Biden administration supports extending the operations of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2030, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said.

In a December 31 statement, Nelson said that the Biden administration is committed to working with international partners, including Russia, to continue research being conducted on the orbiting laboratory through the end of the decade.

Nelson called the ISS “a beacon of peaceful international scientific collaboration” and said that it has returned “enormous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit humanity” during its more than two-decade existence.

Russia and the United States have had close cooperation aboard the ISS since the first component was launched in 1998.

However, relations between the two nations have deteriorated to their lowest point since the early 1990s, raising questions about whether both sides were ready to continue cooperation.

The station would operate through 2030 if approved by international partners and funded by the U.S. Congress. Currently, Congress has approved funding through 2024.

Nelson said the U.S. commitment to extend its participation in the ISS is critical in light of the growing competition in space.

"As more and more nations are active in space, it's more important than ever that the United States continues to lead the world in growing international alliances and modeling rules and norms for the peaceful and responsible use of space," he said.

In November, NATO and the United States condemned Russia for conducting a missile test that blew up a defunct Russian satellite, creating a debris cloud that endangered the ISS -- an accusation dismissed by the Kremlin.

Nelson called the move "reckless."

Key Words: Russia, Space, Space Station, NASA, U.S.-Russian Relations

International Space Station, adapted from image at nasa.gov