ESA officially excludes Russia from ExoMars, Rogozin sees red

The director of Roscosmos did not value this new sanction at all, which further damages international relations.

Decidedly, the environment does not look good on board the ISS. The European Space Agency (ESA) has just formalized the end of its cooperation with Russia on the mission exorcise you ; a decision that somewhat irritated Dimitryi Rogozin, the essential head of the Russian aerospace industry, who was quick to reply.

ExoMars is one of the most exciting missions on ESA’s roadmap. This mission, which began with the shipment of the Trace Gas Orbiter in 2016, should normally have entered its second phase in September 2022, with the shipment of a specialized rover. Generally speaking, its purpose is more or less the same as that of PerseveranceNASA’s rover: examine the red planet to find traces of past lives.

This mission is a source of great pride for the entire European aerospace industry; it is simply the first Martian rover ever designed on the Old Continent, and Russian and Western specialists are already expecting mountains and wonders from this little jewel of technology.

But they will still have to wait a while. Because last March, the ESA -which is piloting the program- made a decision with serious consequences. Like many institutions, it unilaterally decided to suspend its cooperation with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, after the “special military operation” carried out in Ukraine.

Rogozin answers in his usual tone.

Everyone hoped the dust would settle quickly and the show could pick up where it left off. But Eastern Europe seems more mired in conflict than ever. Although the different countries all had strives to maintain cooperation around the stationthe Russian invasion of Ukraine is beginning to significantly undermine relations between the Russian, American and European space agencies.

We saw it again recently after comments from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson (see our Article). And with no way out of the crisis on the horizon, ESA finally decided; decided purely and simply to exclude Roscosmos, despite his already very important contribution to the program. And the troublemaker head of the agency, regulated like clockwork, was pleased to react to the quarter turn with his usual tact.

« How can you talk about Mars with the Europeans, or about Venus with the Americans, if their governments are trying to kill as many Russians as possible by supplying lethal weapons to the Kyiv junta? Rogozin immediately flew into a rage Telegram.

Dmitryi Rogozine does not have his tongue in his pocket and did not refrain from reacting to the ESA decision. © Роскосмос – WikiCommons

« Did the director of ESA even think about the thousands of engineers and scientists from Europe and Russia whom he has just betrayed with his decision? Is he ready to answer for his actions in sabotaging a joint mission to Mars? continues in the same inquisitive tone. Rogozin in the text.

Once is not customary, even if the tone and arguments put forward are always so irreverentthere is this time a part of the truth indisputable in his statements; the purpose of this cooperation is a result that benefits no one.

The exclusion of the Russian contingent is a great loss for the program, because despite the political tensions, its contribution remained important. Furthermore, it must be admitted that no institution would have unhesitatingly agreed to be unilaterally excluded from a program that is already well advanced and of which it was an integral part.

Roscosmos won’t let it go

Be that as it may, Rogozin is especially resentful and has no intention of staying there. He has already announced a first series of retaliation. He claims that Russia now repatriate your contribution to the programnamely the landing gear Kazakh specially developed for the occasion.

And the incorrigible leader does not intend to stay there. He seems determined to give back to the Europeans. ” In exchange, I will personally order our crew aboard the ISS to stop working on the ERA. “, ad.

This acronym refers to theeuropean robotic arm, a huge state-of-the-art robotic manipulator is being installed… on the Russian side of the station. It is not essential for the logistics of the ISS, but being deprived of it would certainly be painful for American and European astronauts.

Furthermore, there is no indication that the cosmonauts follow this Rogozin directive to the letter. The first response item should arrive on July 21; It was on this date that astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti would finish installing her arm in the company of cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev. The celebration or, on the contrary, the cancellation of this outing will tell us a little more about the situation.

An additional point of friction

And in the longer term, the future of ExoMars is also dotted. The mission will probably see the light of day, but certainly not next September as originally planned. To find out more, we will have to wait for the conference that the ESA is going to organize on this subject next July 20 next.

Amidst all these uncertainties, the truth is that the hope for peaceful scientific cooperation in this particular political context is slowly beginning to crumble. It is even sadder that Russia and its former partners have continued on the right foot at the start of the war despite tensions between the leaders. We hope that these new frictions do not precipitate the definitive end of this cooperation, and by extension, of the strong symbol that the ISS represents (see our Article).

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