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Russia’s Space Program Is in Big Trouble


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Roscosmos has also considered bringing down the Soyuz currently docked at the ISS earlier than planned and replacing it with yet another Soyuz, according to a Russian newspaper. This could be a sign of technical worries behind the scenes.

For nine years after the final space shuttle flight, NASA depended on Russia to carry astronauts to the ISS—Soyuz offered the only ride to space. But in 2020, NASA began using SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Soon, Boeing will start providing rides too. NASA still relies on Russia for some cargo deliveries and a few astronaut flights, but that may soon change, McClintock says. “I think it’s likely—and it would be prudent—for NASA to be conducting a similar analysis to see if they can maintain resupply and astronaut transfers to the station without depending on the Russians,” he says. 

NASA could already be moving in that direction; on March 2 the agency extended cargo contracts with SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, and Sierra Space. This development will add to Russia’s economic woes by reducing its already limited space revenue….

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