Russia Banned The US From Using The ISS And Elon Musk Might Not Be Too Unhappy About That

Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

With all the talk of a new Cold War arising over Ukraine tensions, Russia has taken a note from history and fired a Space Race shot.

Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin says his country won’t back the US on any use of the International Space Station beyond 2020 and placed a ban on any of its rockets being used to launch US military satellites.

He also suspended the use of 11 GPS sites in Russia for use outside the country until at least September.

The ISS is actually slated for decommission in 2020 as it stands, but the US has said it would like to continue using the station until at least 2024.

Currently, the only way to reach it is with Russian Soyuz spacecraft, following NASA’s decision to ground the Space Shuttle program.

The action by Russia to deny access to its rockets and the ISS is in retaliation for US sanctions on Russian technology exports over the Ukraine crisis.

Rogozin said the ban would affect NK-33 and RD-180 engines, the latter of which are used in conjunction with Atlas 5 rockets by United Launch Alliance to launch US military satellites.

One person unlikely to be worried about the bans is Elon Musk, who recently said ULA – a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing – has an unfair monopoly U.S. Air Force rocket launches and could save the Air Force $1bn if the process was opened up to privateers.

Musk’s space venture SpaceX is also pursuing the possibility of private human transport to low orbit using its Dragon spacecraft.

Currently, the US pays Russia $60m per person to fly astronauts to the ISS, according to the UK Telegraph.

Rogozin claimed Russia could still use the ISS for its own purposes.

“The Russian segment can exist independently from the American one,” he said.

“The US one cannot.”