Without waiting for the results of the State Duma’s discussion of a package of counter-sanctions, the Russian government has banned the State Corporation for Space Activities, Roskosmos, and the state nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, from making contracts with companies from countries that uphold anti-Russian sanctions.
The newspaper Kommersant reported with reference to a source in parliament and to the directors of the state corporations that the decision was intended as a response to the “US’s confrontational politics” and will “strengthen the government’s control”.
The order to restrict contact with the outside world was signed last week by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. Several days later, Rogozin condemned the suggestion to terminate space collaboration with the US, calling it “shooting ourselves in the foot”.
Nevertheless, according to his instruction, from now on contracts with Rosatom and Roskosmos can only be made “in the event of political resolution”, a federal official told Kommersant.
The order is targeted in nature, aiming to prevent Russian technologies from being passed on to the US in the context of the Deep Space Gateway international near-moon station. Roskosmos and Boeing were planning to sign an agreement on the development of the airlock and life-support modules in the next few months.
The value of the deal was estimated at $15 million, but it was ultimately not signed “due to technological security considerations”.
Soon the session of the Export Commission will take place, during which the ruling to prohibit the transfer of said technologies to the US will be issued officially.
A similar ban is being put in place for Rosatom, which supplies the US with enriched uranium for nuclear power stations, Kommersant’s sources claim.
The US imports as much as 95% of the uranium it needs, and roughly half may come from Russia and Kazakhstan. Contracts already in effect will continue, but new contracts will only be possible with special authorization.
A similar regime has been envisaged for Roskosmos: the agreements signed to sell the US Russian RD-180/181 rocket engines, to take American astronauts to the International Space Station and to supply Soyuz-ST carrier rockets will remain in force.
However, the contracts may be broken off by a package of counter-sanctions that was proposed last week by the State Duma. A bill was put forward by spokesman Vyacheslav Volodin and the leaders of all four parties, demanding that all collaboration in the space and aviation sectors come to an end. However, its hearing has been postponed until May 15. Amendments will be made to the bill over the next two weeks, Federation Council Spokeswoman Valentina Matvienko announced.