The current tensions between Russia and the United States may be growing fast. They may start to affect the International Space Station. Some news outlets reported that Russia threatened to ban the United States from the ISS. This turned out to be untrue. But, it does bring up the question, ''who owns the International Space Station?"
Well, as a whole, no one country owns the ISS. It is a cooperative program between;
- United States
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
- United Kingdom
Instead, each country has legal ownership over sections of the labs, and the individual hardware and equipment that they provided to the ISS. This gives each country jurisdiction over criminal matters, liability issues and protection of intellectual property.
The ISS is broken into two segments the US side and the Russian side. The US side houses three main labs, each owned by a different space program:
- The Columbus module, owned by the European Space Agency
- Kibo, owned by Japan
- Destiny, owned by the U.S.
The Russian side is 100% controlled by Russia, which includes five modules:
- Zarya, which was the first segment of the ISS.
- Zvezda, which includes living quarters, two airlock modules.
- Rassvet, a storage and docking module.
This would put a serious damper on any future ISS plans the United States may have, which is troubling because the United States has already pledged money to extend their work on the ISS to 2024.