Therefore, today Russia is working on, in fact, “plan B” for its satellite navigation system. Here is considered an option of 6 navigation satellites in a highly elliptical orbit, which would make it possible to close the country’s territory by 2030 (now this requires 18 satellites in a medium orbit) and, in the most negative scenario, even do without a global option. By the way, the Japanese and Indian regional navigation satellite systems are of the same type. Alternative option – creation in low orbit of a network of small navigation devices. In any case, GLONASS remains one of the most painful points for Roscosmos, and this problem has only worsened in the past year. However, the military system will be supported at any cost.
Another direction predetermined for Russian cosmonautics is the Moon. This year, the automatic mission Luna-25 was to fly to the Earth’s satellite (the project began in the mid-2000s), which is designed, first of all, to work out the technology of soft landing. However, it was once again postponed – to 2022. The project is connected with the missions planned for the mid-20s, Luna-26 and Luna-27, and has political significance, so Roskosmos is engaged in it as a matter of priority and will continue to do so, even if other scientific projects have to be shifted or completely removed from refuse them.
Foreign policy: is there life after the ISS
In general, many actions of Roskosmos, as well as the rhetoric of its leadership in the past year, were aimed at maintaining the space partnership with the United States and the West after the completion of the ISS. This remains a symbolic pillar of Russia’s high status in the modern world, despite the peculiarities of its political system, specific relations with neighbors, and comparative economic weakness. Even the current confrontation with the West, in the context of maintaining space cooperation, does not allow for the final burning of all bridges and maintains a high degree of interdependence of the parties.
By and large, Moscow is interested in taking part in the project of the American manned station Gateway in the lunar orbit after the ISS. And even the announcement of the Russian space station is aimed at just that. Initially, the federal space program considered the possibility of preserving the new modules of the Russian segment of the ISS as a separate station after the ISS itself was flooded. However, it is technically impossible to do this without NEM, and there is no certainty that this module will be ready by the time the ISS stops operating.
In addition, if the likelihood of a small Russian orbital station can still be assumed, at least in theory, then the likelihood of an independent Russian manned lunar program can no longer be assumed for sure. Russia has neither the appropriate technologies, nor specialists, nor an industrial base, nor financial resources to carry out such a project. Therefore, in order to preserve its high foreign policy status through new space agreements with the United States, Russia is bargaining hard and does not even neglect blackmail.