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Putin Says First Segment of ISS Replacement to Orbit by 2027

A Russian cosmonaut carries out a spacewalk in this archive photo. Roscosmos

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the first segment of the new space station that Moscow plans to construct to replace the ISS should be in orbit by 2027, despite recent setbacks.

Russia previously announced its intention to withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS), where its cosmonauts are permanently stationed and the country plays a key role.

The creation of a new Russian orbital space station has instead been announced as the main priority for the space agency Roscosmos.

"The aim is for there to be no gaps, for the work to keep pace with the depletion of the ISS's resources," said Putin on Thursday during a televised meeting with specialists from the sector.

"In 2027, the first segment should be put into orbit," the president announced, while calling for "everything to be done in good time."

The Russian space industry, historically the pride of the country, has suffered funding problems for years, along with corruption scandals and other setbacks.

In August, Russia's Luna-25 module crashed on the Moon's surface after an incident during pre-landing maneuvers, in a huge embarrassment for Moscow in its first mission to Earth's natural satellite since 1976.

"Mistakes happen. This is such a complex activity. It's a pity... It is a negative experience but it will be used in the future to avoid any mistakes," Putin said, vowing to continue funding missions to the Moon.

The president also asked those overseeing the sector to resolve problems with salaries that are too low in Russia's space industry and to try to attract foreign specialists as well as increase private business involvement.

The ISS, a model of international cooperation mainly between the United States and Russia, began in 1988 and was due to be decommissioned in 2024. However NASA estimates it can continue to operate until 2030.

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