With a time lag, perhaps seven people who were orbiting 400 kilometers above the earth were listening attentively to American President Joe Biden when he presented the punitive measures against Russia in the White House.
Four Americans and two Russians are currently working and living on the International Space Station (ISS), apart from them, only the German astronaut Matthias Maurer is on board.
In fact, Biden did mention Russia's space program in his address: "We estimate that we will stop more than half of Russia's high-tech imports," he said.
This will deal a blow to Russia's ability to modernize its military, but will also affect its aerospace industry, "including the space program."
The head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, responded to this statement on Twitter on Thursday with the question: "Do you want to destroy our cooperation on the ISS?" Rogozin linked the question with a threat: Biden was probably not aware that Russian Motors that kept the ISS on course – “without us, who will save the ISS from possibly uncontrolled de-orbiting and crashing into American or European territory?” It is also not impossible that the 500-ton remains of the ISS end up in India or China could fall.
"Do you want to threaten them with such a prospect?" wrote Rogozin.
"The ISS doesn't fly over Russia, so all the risks are on you."
The ISS is operated by the aviation authorities of America, Russia, Canada, Japan and Europe, but consists of an American and a Russian part.
According to Pete Harding, an ISS specialist from the NASASpaceflight portal, the thrusters of the Russian segment are in fact the only way to regulate the altitude at which the ISS orbits the Earth.
But the Russian part is dependent on the American side for power supply.
Overall, both sides are dependent on each other.
Accordingly, this threat from Russia should probably not be taken too seriously.
Before the head of the space agency, Rogozin, tweeted about a crash of the ISS, the space agency Roskosmos had also announced that it wanted to fulfill its international obligations in space.
From NASA's point of view, the cooperation with Roskosmos in relation to the ISS continues, according to a statement from the American space agency: "No changes are planned to support ongoing work in space and on the ground." The European Space Agency ESA also said that civil space cooperation should remain "a bridge" between countries.
At the end of March, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is scheduled to return to Earth in a Russian Soyuz capsule.Keywords: