According to TASS news agency, in 2016 Roscosmos budget planned for ISS will decrease to $360 million. Will Russian modules became next MIR attached to ISS ?
It seems that restructuration of Roscosmos and changing its status from space agency to State Corporation was maybe necessary more than it could be supposed (You can read more here). In 2016, according to TASS, necessary maintenance, mission control and scientific experiments will be supported with smaller funds then it was predicted earlier. Roscosmos is going to spend around $360 million – it is still huge sum of money but it is around half of declared budget in earlier years. For example in 2013 it was declared by Roscosmos that around $1 billion will be reserved for necessary maintenance and servicing ISS. It is result of frozen budget for ISS program – for next three years budget will not exceed funds planned for 2016 and until 2021 it will be approximately $9.82 billion. It is showing general tendency to reduce costs in Russian space program.
It should be reminded that NASA is forced to pay Roscosmos for every astronaut on Soyuz spacecraft sum of $80 million – until 2017 costs for NASA will be at $490 million (Roscosmos was assured by NASA about extending contract fly American astronauts to the International Space Station in summer 2015). Russian engagement ISS program is also providing income and reducing general cost for Roscosmos budget. Is it sign that Russia is beginning withdrawal from ISS program ? For sure it should not be considered as positive sign. It is well known that Russia is developing own space station which should start operating on next decade, just before decommissioning ISS. It is also confirmed by Roscosmos, that before decommissioning few Russian modules will be separated and used for new Russian space station – OPSEK. Modules which are considered by Roscosmos are Zvezda, Poinsk and Nauka – last one is not launched but scheduled for 2017. Until launching Nauka and next planned module OKA-T (contracted in 2012 for RKK Energia unmanned laboratory module), Roscosmos is strongly interested in preserving ISS. The question is if 2028, when ISS is planned to be decommissioned, will be sufficient term for finishing all preparations for detaching Russian modules and establishing first Russian space station. If Roscosmos will finish developing all modules and will start own station earlier it is doubtful that it would like to still participate in ISS. It is clear, that every dollar spent for maintenance of ISS is one dollar not spends on own space station. Also it is not a secret that only Russia and USA are able to build own space stations, other countries involved in ISS program – not have such opportunity. These countries are strongly interested in keeping ISS operational as long as possible and maybe it is that on Russia counts.