NASA planning to Crash the ISS Into the Ocean

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The International Space Station (ISS) has been home to humans in space for nearly 24 years.

Since astronaut Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev first boarded it on Halloween in 2000, it has been a symbol of international collaboration and scientific achievement.

The End of an Era

However, all good things must come to an end.

NASA announced on Wednesday that it has chosen SpaceX to develop and build a special Deorbit Vehicle to bring the ISS safely back to Earth when its mission ends.

This new vehicle will ensure a safe and responsible conclusion to the space station’s operations.

NASA’s Statement

Ken Bowersox, associate administrator for Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said:

“Selecting a US Deorbit Vehicle for the International Space Station will help NASA and its international partners ensure a safe and responsible transition in low Earth orbit at the end of station operations.

This decision also supports NASA’s plans for future commercial destinations and allows for the continued use of space near Earth.

The orbital laboratory remains a blueprint for science, exploration, and partnerships in space for the benefit of all.

The ISS’s Lifespan

The ISS has been orbiting Earth since 1998, and by the time it retires in 2030, it will have outlasted its expected lifespan by two years.

While many parts of the station, like solar arrays and communications equipment, can be repaired or replaced, the main structure cannot be practically fixed.

This includes the crewed modules and the truss structures that hold the station together.

Structural Challenges

The constant docking and undocking of spacecraft and the transition between sunlight and darkness place stress on the ISS’s structures.

Even though these forces were considered in the original design, the station’s primary structure has a finite lifespan.

Signs of Aging

Over the years, the ISS has started showing signs of aging, such as leaks. Despite this, it has functioned remarkably well.

NASA is now preparing for the end of this incredible project, which has seen five space agencies work together to maintain a laboratory orbiting at around 28,000 kilometers per hour (17,500 miles per hour).

SpaceX’s Role

SpaceX’s involvement in building the Deorbit Vehicle, valued at approximately $843 million, marks a significant step.

Although SpaceX will develop and build the vehicle, NASA will manage and own the mission to bring the ISS back to Earth.


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