Roscosmos Decides to Suspend All Launches over European Sanctions on Ukraine Invasion25th Mar 2022
Russia decided to suspend rocket launches from French Guiana due to European space sanctions. The Soyuz rocket launch was scheduled for 6th April this year but is now cancelled as the president of the Russian Federation launches a full-scale Ukraine invasion.
The decision to Suspend the Soyuz Rocket Launch
An agreement between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos on the use of launchers was signed in 2005, and the first time Soyuz was launched was in 2011. This year Russia and Europe were getting ready for a robotic mission to Mars. However, the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, has decided to halt the rocket launch of Soyuz from Europe’s spaceports because of the space sanctions imposed by the EU and the USA. In the statement posted on Twitter, Roscosmos chief, Dmitry Rogozin said that they are not just suspending the Soyuz rocket launch but all other joint operations, too, in response to European sanctions.
Additionally, they are planning to withdraw 87 people who worked to support the Soyuz rocket launch for Russian companies in South America. According to Rogozin, they are working on a plan to bring the personnel back to Russia.
Apart from that, Rogozin said that they are thinking about excluding the US from the mission to explore Venus, called Venera D. Continuation of a joint mission is inappropriate, according to him. He also claims that the sanctions will ruin the relationship between NASA and Russia and may lead to the downfall of the International Space Station.
Reactions to the Decision
European Space Agency spokesperson has said to Space News that they don’t have an immediate response to the Roscosmos announcement about the suspension. They were planning to have a meeting on the 28th February and potentially come up with the statement after the event.
Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner, said in a statement on the 26th February that the Russian decision to suspend the Soyuz rocket launch doesn’t have immediate consequences. He added that the quality of Galileo and Copernicus projects will not be affected in any way and that this decision doesn’t put the development of these infrastructures at risk.