By Chris King • 02 February 2022 • 4:14
Russian Space Agency threatens to dump 500-ton ISS on Europe or the US.
The International Space Station (ISS) was launched by NASA back in 1998, which means it has been circling our planet for around 23 years. When it was built, the ISS had an estimated lifespan of 15 years, so it has already outlived its expectancy.
NASA has announced plans to kill off the iconic space station in January 2031, by wh¡ch time it will have lived twice as long as expected. At this time, it will be sent plunging into an ocean known as the ‘spacecraft cemetery’, a place called Point Nemo, in the South Pacific.
The ocean is reportedly where all rockets and satellites are sent to their final resting place, and is located in one of the most remote regions of the planet. Most of the giant 930,000lbs spacecraft will burn up as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere.
NASA assures that the craft is in good condition still, but that its continued use has started to increase the number of problems that have cropped up. Over the next decade, to alleviate the issues, NASA intends to add a number of commercially operated modules.
Eventually, these modules will separate from the ISS and form their own commercial station. They will join at least three other privately-run orbital facilities that are due to be launched before 2030. NASA will become a customer for private operators in this way.
When announcing its new plan, NASA wrote, “The ISS is a unique laboratory that is returning enormous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit people on Earth, and is enabling our ability to travel into deep space”.
“Based on the ISS structural health analysis, there is high confidence that its life can be extended through 2030. The technical lifetime of the ISS is limited by the primary structure, which includes the modules, radiators, and truss structures”, it continued.
Adding, “Other systems such as power, environmental control, and life support, are repairable and replaceable in orbit”.
Robyn Gatens, director of the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters, said, “The International Space Station is entering its third and most productive decade as a groundbreaking scientific platform in microgravity”.
“This third decade is one of results, building on our successful global partnership to verify exploration and human research technologies to support deep space exploration, continue to return medical and environmental benefits to humanity, and lay the groundwork for a commercial future in low-Earth orbit”, he concluded, as reported by dailymail.co.uk.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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