Russians confirm their commitment to ISS through 2024

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Even as a new crew arrived at ISS, the head of Roscosmos confirmed that the Russians are now committed to sticking with ISS through 2024, as requested by the U.S.

I’ll make a prediction: The station’s life will be extended beyond 2024, but not necessarily under the control of its present international partnership. If the governments involved consider backing out at that time, there will be private companies then capable of taking it over, and will demand that the U.S. transfer ownership to them. This will in turn act to pressure the governments to continue the station’s operation.

Either way, ISS will continue.

Meanwhile, quality control issues continue to pop up with the Russians. One of the solar panels on the Soyuz capsule that delivered crew to ISS yesterday had failed to open when commanded, then decided to pop open unannounced during the docking. They had enough power to get to the station with only one panel, and the panel opening at the wrong time fortunately did not cause any problems, but for the panel to open as it did is without doubt worrisome.

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