As tensions increase between Russia and the US, the Russian space agency has announced it will withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS) in 2025 and has already begun work on a space station of its own, according to BBC News.
The US and Russia jointly launched the ISS in 1998 and was hailed as significant steps to reconstruct souring relations between the cold war adversaries. But Russian officials have indicated they will pull out of the ISS by 2025.
The ISS is 23 years old and is rapidly aging, posing a danger for astronauts. ISS crew recently had to hunt for a mystery air leak.
"We can't risk the lives [of our cosmonauts]. The situation that today is connected to the structure and the metal getting old, it can lead to irreversible consequences - to catastrophe. We mustn't let that happen," Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told state television this week.
Borisov said Moscow would give the US and other international partners "fair warning of our departure from the ISS in 2025."
The head of Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, also known as Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, posted a video on the Telegram messaging app that said the "first core module of the new Russian orbital station is in the works," intending to launch it into low Earth orbit by 2025.
News of the proposed withdrawal and build of the Russian space module comes after Moscow signed a memorandum with China to build a moon base that would either be on the lunar surface or in orbit. Russia previously turned down participating in the "too U.S.-centric" Moon-orbiting station.
For the US to maintain its hegemonic position, it must also have a dominant position in space. Essentially holding the "high ground," though Russia backing out of the ISS by 2025 and building its own space station, along with pivoting towards China for moon projects, is precisely why the Pentagon's newest branch, called Space Force, is focused on attempting to maintain Western dominance in space.