Russia will deploy its own orbital space station in 2017, using parts of modules originally destined for the International Space Station (ISS), according to Kommersant, a Russian daily newspaper.
The latest development follows an announcement by the country’s deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin earlier this year that Russia would not use the ISS after 2020, Sputnik reported, citing the Kommersant report, which cited a source close to the Central Research Institute of Machine Building, which is administrated by the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).
“The new station will be located in a geometrically favorable location with the possibility of an extended field of view of the Earth's surface,” the source told Kommersant. “As much as 90 percent of Russia's territory and the Arctic offshore area will be visible from the new space station, while the ISS’ field of view covers not more than 5 percent of the region.”
According to the Kommersant report, one of the principal tasks of the space station will be to test spacecraft bound for the moon. The spacecraft would be first delivered to the space station, before an attempt to reach the moon.
The newspaper said that the project's costs are as yet uncertain, but added, citing sources, that modules and devices developed for the Russian segment of the ISS would initially be used for the project, helping Moscow avoid additional costs.
In May, Rogozin announced that Russia would deny use of the ISS' Russian segment to the U.S. after 2020, and ban the use of Russian-made rocket engines for launching U.S. military satellites, in an apparent response to American sanctions imposed on Russia over the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
“The Russian segment can exist independently from the American one. The U.S. one cannot,” Rogozin said at the time. “After 2020, we would like to divert these funds [used for ISS] to more promising space projects.”