Russia has announced that – due to recent U.S. technology embargoes – Roscosmos may be unable to launch its Soyuz-MS spacecraft to service the International Space Station.
“We have more than enough rockets but nothing to launch them with,” Rogozin said, in a rare admission by a senior Russian official that Western sanctions are seriously impeding the development of a given industry.
Since the retirement of America’s Space Shuttle, the Russian capsule was the only man-rated means of transport to and from the space station. Only in the last year has SpaceX begun testing a U.S.-based alternative.
The Soyuz vehicle is also used to intermittently boost Station Alpha’s altitude, as its orbit gradually decays due to the thin layer of earth’s atmosphere.
If this is an attempt at bargaining, it’s poorly-timed: SpaceX Dragon capsule seems to be shaping up as an effective alternative.