According to the recently appointed head of Russia‘s space agency, the country has made the decision to stop participating in the International Space Station (ISS) after 2024 and concentrate on building its own orbital outpost.

The space outpost is a cooperative project between Europe, the United States, Russia, Canada, and Japan.

In remarks made to Russian President Vladimir Putin and made public by the Kremlin on Tuesday, Roscosmos Director General Yury Borisov said, “Of course, we will fulfil all our obligations to our partners, but the decision to leave this station after 2024 has been made,” as per Al Jazeera. 

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Borisov, who was appointed by Putin earlier this month as part of a restructuring of the Russian space agency, declared that Russia would “begin to form” the hypothetical Russian Orbital Station (ROSS) as it withdraws from the multilateral project.

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Borisov’s remarks confirmed earlier statements made by Russian space officials about Moscow’s intention to leave the space outpost in the upcoming years. 

Later on Tuesday, the US space agency NASA stated that it had not yet received “any official word” from Russia regarding its rumoured intention to leave the ISS.

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There are now many uncertainties regarding what will occur after Russia’s withdrawal because it has declared it will not extend.

Borisov’s comments followed Roscosmos’s (state corporation of the Russian Federation) earlier this month announcement that it had signed a historic agreement with NASA regarding integrated flights and crews on the International Space Station (ISS). 

According to representatives from NASA and Russia, the agreement guarantees that there will always be at least one American and one Russian aboard the orbiting outpost to keep things running smoothly on both sides.

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According to NASA, the first integrated flights under the new agreement will happen in September.

They will witness US astronaut Frank Rubio and two cosmonauts, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin, launch to the space station from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is owned by Moscow.

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In exchange, cosmonaut Anna Kikina will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the US, along with two US astronauts and a Japanese astronaut on a SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to the orbital laboratory.

The International Space Station (ISS), which was launched in 1998 and has been continuously occupied since November 2000, serves as a hub for astronauts to conduct a variety of research projects 400 kilometres (250 miles) above Earth.