Sweden has cancelled the launch of a research satellite via a Russian rocket, following the Kremlin-backed attack on neighbouring Ukraine.
The launch was scheduled for the end of this year, after its initial scheduled launch in 2019 was delayed.
“Preparing for a launch from Russia is unthinkable under the current circumstances,” a spokesperson for the Swedish National Space Agency (SNSA) told City A.M. today. “The switch of rocket might delay the launch and the research but the decision was taken after consultation with the scientific community behind Mats.”
The research satellite know as Mats was planned for a launch from Vostochny in Russia.
“We have recently decided to change plan and look for another rocket to place Mats in its desired position to study the upper parts of earth’s atmosphere,” the SNSA spokesperson added. “No new decision regarding rocket yet and the satellite is still on Swedish soil.”
Russian space agency Roscosmos’ controversial boss Dmitry Rogozin announced the move on Twitter this morning.
“Sweden refuses to launch Mats satellite on Russian Soyuz-2.1b rocket,” Rogozin wrote. “The launch of Mats was planned at the end of 2022 from the Vostochny cosmodrome along with a Russian meteorological satellite.”
Rogozin, who has repeatedly threatened the safety of the International Space Station in Twitter spats since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, also Tweeted a Russian proverb suggesting that Russia will be unphased by the move – for it is Roscosmos with the necessary rocket and not Sweden.
“A woman with a cart is easier for a mare (rocket),” he wrote.