The hostile behavior the ‘west’ is showing towards China and Russia has consequences.
The International Space Station is losing the Russian modules it needs to maneuver. The U.S. will immediately have to build new propulsion modules if it wants to save it.
Russia has said it will withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS) after 2024 to focus on building its own orbital outpost.
Yuri Borisov, who was appointed to lead the state-controlled space corporation Roscosmos earlier this month, said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia would fulfil its obligations to other partners before it leaves the project.
Mr Borisov said “the decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made.”
The U.S. had planned to operate the station until 2031:
Earlier this year NASA published plans for the ISS which could see the 444,615kg structure taken out of orbit in January 2031 and crashed into a “spacecraft cemetery”.
It said the laboratory would continue operating until 2030 but its long-term future is unsustainable.
The end date will now likely be earlier than NASA had planned. As an earlier report explained:
Russia provides the propellant and thrusters needed to periodically reboost the station, a critical capability NASA cannot currently replace. Maneuvering is provided by thrusters built into the Russian Zarya and Zvezda modules and aboard visiting Progress supply ships.
A Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship that arrived earlier this week is the first U.S. vehicle after the space shuttle to be capable of reboost, but it cannot on its own replace the Russian capability.
NASA astronauts are not trained to operate Russian systems and vice versa for the cosmonauts. Neither side can safely operate the lab on its own.
Without the Russians thruster modules the station will continuously slow down and sink towards earth until it breaks up and burns in the atmosphere.
For the U.S. to build its own thruster modules would very likely take more than two years. They would probably arrive too late to rescue the station.
Russia has plans to build a new space station. An alternative for it may be to hook up with the Chinese space station which was launched last year. Yesterday it received its second large module, a laboratory. A third large module will be added later this year.
China build its own space station because the U.S. had excluded it from participating in the ISS:
China has been barred from the ISS since 2011, when Congress passed a law prohibiting official American contact with the Chinese space program due to concerns about national security. “National security,” of course, is the lingua franca excuse for any country to do anything it jolly well wants to do even if it has nothing to do with, you know, the security of the nation. But never mind.
Just 11 years after the ban China has launched and operates its own space station.
It is likely that from 2025 on there will again be only one international space station. But it will be operated by China and probably Russia while the U.S. and its allies will likely be excluded from it.
This is the consequence of the U.S. hostile behavior which excludes and sanctions others for unserious reason.
The U.S. had pushed the Dutch government to prohibit the delivery of ASML machines to China that are needed to make the 4-7 nanometer structures of today’s most advanced computer chips. Two weeks ago the U.S. started a push to prohibit ASML from delivering even its older models to China.
But a U.S. Canadian company recently found out that China’ SMIC is already mass producing 7 nm chips. That capability had not been announced:
“This is the most advanced technology product TechInsights has seen from SMIC so far and may be leading to a true 7nm process that incorporates scaled logic and memory bitcells,” TechInsights said.
Chip world watcher Dylan Patel noted another implication for SMIC’s 7nm capabilities. He said the development means China is now further ahead than the US or Europe in having 7nm contract chip manufacturing capabilities since American chipmaker Intel has yet to make its 7nm process available to foundry customers.
China is also building more chip factories than anyone else:
China is leading the world in building new chip factories, a step toward achieving more self-sufficiency in semiconductors that could eventually make some buyers reliant on China for many of the basic chips now in short supply.
As chip makers race worldwide to boost production and ease supply shortages, no country is expanding faster than China, which is slated to build 31 major semiconductor factories, known as fabs, during the four years through 2024, according to the chip-industry group SEMI.
Up to now China had imported $300 billion of chips per year. When all of China’s new fabs are ready most of that money will stay in China. Chip producers in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and the U.S. will have to seek new customers or lower their own output.
The space stations and the chip sanctions only demonstrates the inevitable consequences of being hostile towards large countries like Russia and China.
They have enough alternatives to substitute sanctioned products and to eventually develop their own production capabilities.
All this while the U.S. and its allies lose market shares.