The competition heats up: Amid its political kerfuffle with the U.S., Russia has significantly increased the government budget of its space industry.
The new space policy, which pledges 1.8 trillion rubles toward modernization and development efforts throughout the Russian space industry, appears to be a step toward ensuring Russia is free to pursue its own interests in space after its ISS obligations are fulfilled in 2020. Rogozin tweeted that Russia will discuss cooperative space projects with China at a summit meeting in Beijing on May 19. [emphasis mine]
A space station partnership with China would make enormous sense, as China’s station designs are based on Russian space station engineering. The two would likely would work together quite well. Moreover, both systems were designed intelligently as prototype interplanetary spaceships, something that was not done for the U.S. part of ISS. Thus, ISS does not function well for testing the engineering for future space projects, something that the Russians are very conscious of.