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Russia Considers Building Its Own Space Station

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft blasts off from the Russian-leased Kazakh Baikonur cosmodrome in May 2013.

The head of Russia's space agency says Russia is considering building its own space station.

"I confirm that we are considering such an option," Roskosmos chief Oleg Ostapenko said in response to a question at a news briefing on December 15.

He called it "one of the prospective directions" of the Russian space program.

But he said approval of the agency's budget through 2025 has been postponed "as it will have to be adjusted to the new circumstances."

Russia's economy has been damaged by falling oil prices and Western sanctions over its interference in Ukraine.

Russia has shared the International Space Station (ISS) with the United States and 13 other countries for more than a decade.

But future cooperation has been clouded by the confrontation over Ukraine.

The United States wants to keep the ISS in use until at least 2024, four years beyond the previous target.

But a senior Russian official said in May that Moscow would reject Washington's request to prolong its operations.

Based on reporting by RIA, Reuters, and Interfax