When searching on Google News for articles about the international space station there is definitely some confusion going on. According to Space.com, Igor Komarov, the director general of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos is ready to discuss extending the life of the ISS up to 2028. However, the U.K. tabloids, the Mirror, The Sun and the Mail Online, all reporting that Russia is planning on dropping their collaboration on the ISS in 2024 and teaming up with China instead.

Low Earth orbit research needed for possible Mars trip

As noted by Space.com, Komarov attended the 33rd annual Space Symposium on April 4, where he stressed the need for a research station positioned in low Earth orbit as plans are made to hopefully travel to Mars in the future.

Komarov added that Roscosmos plans to send up a new module to the ISS in 2018 when they will also be adding a third crew member to the space station.

Currently the International Space Station is financed to run until 2024 and Komarov did say that should the ISS be retired, they would plan on building a new space station. However, Komarov did not say they were ditching the project and starting their own in 2024. At present the U.S. and Russia collaborate to support and manage half of the ISS, with other international collaborators contributing to the cause. Komarov did say that Roscosmos is definitely ready to discuss the idea of extending the life of the International Space Station through 2028 with those same international partners.

Tensions between Russia and the West could start a new “space race”

The Mail Online and the Mirror, however, are speaking of growing tensions between Russia and the West and how this could start a new “space race,” with Russia pulling out of the ISS and collaborating with China, a country that has never been involved in the international project.

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That report quotes Andrei Ionin, who works as chief analyst at the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics as saying the Russians may pull out of the ISS after 2024. The Mail Online also reported that Roscosmos is considering dropping human researchers from the “new” space station to rather use robots instead.

With the International Space Station being probably the only area where the U.S. and Russia do get on these days, it is to be hoped that Space.com got it right.