Russia leaving the International Space Station 'is a loss to the human race', says astronomer

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Russia Leaving The International Space Station 'Is A Loss To The Human Race', Says Astronomer Russia Leaving The International Space Station 'Is A Loss To The Human Race', Says Astronomer
The International Space Station (above) is made up of 17 different modules or components. Russia has six modules in total.
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Kenneth Fox

Russia pulling out of the International Space Station (ISS) in retaliation to sanctions from the West is a "loss to the human race", according to an Irish astronomer.

The ISS is a joint collaboration between space agencies from the US (NASA), Japan (JAXA), Europe (ESA), Canada (CSA) and up until recently, Russia.

The station itself is made up of 17 different modules or components. Russia has six modules in total which are the Zarya, Zvezda, Poisk, Rassvet, Nauka, and Prichal.

Speaking to BreakingNews.ie, the editor of Astronomy Ireland, David Moore said the spirit of collaboration between scientists has always been important.

"2011 was the last time NASA launched a shuttle, it was quite embarrassing for the Americans because they had no manned space facility to get their astronauts up to the ISS.

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"They really needed the Russian's help, and they have been working together for over a decade, until Elon Musk built rockets for NASA."

With the rift developing between Russia and the West over the Ukraine invasion, it leaves both parties in a strange situation.

"It is going to be an unholy mess! Are they going to undock the Russian modules or will they make new ones?"

The wider picture however is that things are changing in space, and it is becoming a much more privatised industry.

"The Chinese already have their own space station and people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos will look to do something similar as well in the future," he said.

The move away from the ISS by Russia means they will more than likely co-operate with China, which is something that has already been talked about.

The last frontier

Even throughout the Cold War, the US and Russia worked together in space and politics never entered the fray. The ISS is now just down to the US, Canada, Japan and the EU.

"I am sure the Americans and their partners, including Ireland who are part of the European Space Agency (ESA), will reorganise everything," said Mr Moore.

"It was the last frontier though where politics did not factor in and scientists took a lot of pride in that. They always got on well together."

As a member of the ESA, Ireland gives millions in funding to the agency which means Irish companies can bid for ESA contracts.

If they do work with the ESA, it gives Irish companies a sense of prestige and credibility and other companies will be more likely to work with them.

With the future of space likely to be in the realm of private enterprises, Russia's move could signal a new era for space exploration.

"The sad thing about it is that it basically makes space a polarising place. It was always the one area where politics had no real jurisdiction.

"That is properly the biggest loss for the human race is the sense of co-operation is gone. Russia will go on to do its own thing and so will the US and Europe, but it is sad they could not do it together," Mr Moore said.

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