The head of the Roscosmos space agency gave an interview to the Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda, in which he returned in particular to the state of space cooperation between Russia and the United States.
Simultaneously with the world conference on space exploration which takes place from June 14 to 18, 2021 in Saint Petersburg (called GLEX-2021), the Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda published, on June 15, a long interview with the boss of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency. The opportunity for Dmitri Rogozin to express, among other things, his vision of space collaboration between his country and the United States.
The head of the Russian space agency initially wanted to greet his American counterpart, Bill Nelson, with whom he recently spoke by telephone. “Unfortunately there has only been one such conversation so far, [mais] it was a good conversation, Nelson is an experienced and prudent man ”, declared Dmitry Rogozin, underlining the proximity between the current head of NASA and the administration of Joseph Biden. “If he wants to change some things in our relationship, and it is in his hands, I am ready to help him on our side,” he continued.
Asked about the state of Russian-American space cooperation, the boss of Roscosmos said that the collaboration between the two countries extended well beyond the issues specific to the ISS, whose future is plagued by many twists and turns, especially regarding its financing. Dmitri Rogozin, for example, recalled the recognition, across the Atlantic, of Russian know-how in the manufacture of rocket engines. “Our American colleagues have problems in the rocket engine industry, they cannot give up our excellent and very reliable engines so quickly”, he assured, referring here to the American sanctions voted by Congress in the goal of prohibiting the Pentagon from the military use of certain Russian-made parts.
As Reuters previously reported on June 7, Dmitry Rogozin, who himself faces personal sanctions from the US and the EU, said Russia may withdraw from the Space Station. International (ISS) in 2025 if Washington does not quickly lift sanctions against Russian space contractors.
Space research, environment: common Russian-American interests?
In his last interview at the Komsomolskaya Pravda, the head of the Russian space agency also raised the prospect of a partnership with NASA in the scientific use of space. “We have a lot of things in common and interesting in terms of basic space research, including, I hope, on Venus,” he explained. As such, he mentioned the environmental aspect in particular: “We share a great interest in environmental monitoring, I think this is also a promising area. In fact, to build an orbital constellation that can monitor CO2, emissions and other things, I think only our two countries can do that. I will also discuss it with Nelson, ”Dmitri Rogozin said, recalling that he had to talk again on several of these subjects with Bill Nelson.
A historical player in space exploration since the Soviet era, Russia today maintains collaborations with key powers in the sector, for example with partners present on the Old Continent but also in Asia, primarily with China. On June 16, the Russian and Chinese space agencies held a joint session within the framework of GLEX-2021, during which was presented, as announced in May, the roadmap for the creation of an international station. Lunar Research Center (ILRS).
Beyond the space cooperation undertaken by Russia internationally, Dmitri Rogozin also returned to the question of a future Russian station in Earth orbit. In fact, the construction of a space station for the country fits into a threefold context. It is linked on the one hand to the Russian desire to develop its terrestrial observation capacities; on the other hand to the efforts which Moscow intends to deploy for the exploration of the Moon; and finally, the aging infrastructure of the International Space Station (ISS), in which Russia is actively involved.