Russia has already provided a brief glimpse of the space station it will build after leaving the ISS. According to reports, the country’s Roscosmos space agency has shared a model of the future station, dubbed ROSS by state-controlled media.
The orbital facility would be launched in two stages, with four modules initially and six with a service platform later. The design would reportedly accommodate four people in rotating tours and provide better monitoring of Earth than Russia currently receives from the ISS.
If you’re looking for more specifics, you’ll be disappointed. Roscosmos has not provided dates, but state media reports that the first phase will launch between 2025 and 2030.
The second phase would take place between 2030 and 2035. Between Russia’s ostensible ISS exit in 2024 and a functional replacement, there could be a long wait.
Roscosmos announced its departure from the International Space Station in July in response to Western sanctions and other measures imposed in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
If the move proceeds, it will mark the end of two decades of a joint, permanent US-Russia presence aboard the station. Russia will continue to meet its obligations until the 2024 deadline, and it has even agreed to swap flight seats with the United States.
The country has financial incentives to get its own platform up and running as soon as possible. Russia’s ability to conduct both the previously mentioned Earth observations and low-gravity research is limited by the lack of a station.
There’s also the issue of national pride to consider. Mir, Russia’s last self-run station, was decommissioned in 2001. ROSS would not only assist Russia in picking up where it left off, but would also outperform the country’s previous efforts.