NASA plans to crash the International Space Station into the ocean in 2031 | Smart News
Since its launch more than two decades ago, the International Space Station (ISS) has welcomed more than 200 astronauts and contributed to countless scientific discoveries. The aging spacecraft is nearing retirement, and like other decommissioned spacecraft, NASA will crash into the ISS in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean in a controlled landing scheduled for 2031, according to details recently released by the ‘agency.
“Although the ISS will not last forever, NASA expects to be able to operate it safely until 2030,” the report said.
The station, which orbits 227 nautical miles above Earth, has served as an in-space science laboratory for astronauts from 19 different countries. It was assembled in sections, from the time a Russian rocket launched the first part in 1998. Two years and a few module additions later, the station was ready for its first astronauts, who arrived on November 2, 2000. In 2011 , the spacecraft was with five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gym and huge solar panels to capture the sun’s energy. For the past 20 years, the ISS has been able to accommodate about six astronauts at a time, ensuring a human presence in space.
To break out of orbit, the ISS will perform thrust maneuvers that would ensure “safe atmospheric entry”, according to the NASA report. called the “spacecraft graveyard”. Point Nemo is about 3,000 miles off the east coast of New Zealand and 2,000 miles north of Antarctica and has been a target of space junk for decades. It is estimated that the United States, Russia, Japan and European space agencies have sunk more than 250 pieces of space junk at the site since 1971, reports Katie Hunt for CNN.
Until the ISS meets its aquatic end in nine years, the agency plans to make the most of the station, including conducting research, strengthening international cooperation and helping the private spaceflight industry. to grow, according to American scientistis Mike Wall.
“The International Space Station is entering its third, most productive decade as a groundbreaking microgravity science platform,” Robyn Gatens, ISS director at NASA Headquarters, said in a statement. “We look forward to maximizing these space station returns through 2030 while planning for the transition to commercial space destinations that follow.”
Then NASA turns to private companies to help sustain the ISS and build future stations. Houston-based Axiom Space has agreed to attach a privately-built module to the station as early as 2024. In December last year, NASA awarded a total of $415 million to Blue Origin, Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman to build their own private space. stations, according to Jennifer Hassan and Christian Davenport for the Washington Post. NASA plans to act as a customer, paying to send its own astronauts to use private space outposts.
“The private sector is technically and financially capable of developing and operating commercial destinations in low Earth orbit, with the assistance of NASA,” said Phil McAlister, director of commercial space at NASA Headquarters, in A press release. “We look forward to sharing our lessons learned and operations experience with the private sector to help them develop safe, reliable and cost-effective destinations in space.”