So Who actually owns International Space Station (ISS)?

The international Space Station (ISS) is an magnificent achievement, not just technologically (and that part alone makes it a big deal), but as it shows what we can do when we put our differences — irrespective of whether they are political, religious, racial or whatsoever else — aside and work together for the common good of humans, and for the improvement of science. 

The 100-billion-dollar space-station has been semi-operational for over 16 years now (the first team reached on October 31st of 2000), with its first module having been launched into orbit aboard on the 20th of November, 1998. In spite of the fact that it was constructed by Russia, it was financed by the United States — as were many other sections, including ‘Unity,’ ‘Destiny,’ and ‘Tranquility’ — but more than a dozen different nations have funded to the early costs and the ongoing-maintenance (In addition to Russia’s various sections, the ESA is accountable for ‘Columbus, and Kibō, the biggest of them all, belongs to Japan).

Of course, even in space, about 260 miles (420 kilometres) above Earth’s surface, international politics do come into play; We saw this first-hand back in 2014, when tensions between Russia and the US escalated to the point that NASA formally severed ties with the Russian Federal Space Agency. Perhaps, this wasn’t the smartest move, since after NASA decommissioned the last of its fleet of space shuttles in 2011, astronauts were forced to piggyback into orbit on Russian spacecrafts.

In reaction to other agreements related to Russia’s controversial intervention in the Ukrainian engagement, Dmitry Rogozin — Deputy Prime Minister of Russia — sarcastical tweeted: 
“After evaluating the sanctions against our space industry, I propose the US carries its cosmonauts to the ISS with a trampoline.”

Pointless to say, this conflict has been hard for both space agencies (to say the least), which raises the question: if worse ever comes to worst, and all of the countries involved in the Space Station Program declined to work together, who would exactly have possession of the ISS? The issue is rather complex, but thankfully, we dotted every I and crossed every t before the first module even left Earth’s surface. 

The European Space Agency (ESA) responses to the question comprehensively in this great article, but the video below is a good summary of the fundamentals:



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