NASA has big fiery plans for the International Space Station (ISS) and its retirement in 2031. While it’ll continue doing hard work for now, in about ten years, the company will happily burn it up during re-entry, then crash the remaining bits of the ISS into the ocean.
The space agency recently released an updated ISS transition report that detailed its plans for retiring the aging space station. The ISS will get the same fate as most space junk and eventually end at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean in what’s known as the “space cemetery.”
Sometime in early 2031, when the International Space Station completes its final mission, NASA will decommission the facility and let it crash into Point Nemo in the ocean. We say “happily” because the ISS has been highly successful so far, and when its time comes to an end, the ISS will be nearly 30 years old.
Another reason this is somewhat exciting is that maintaining the ISS is extremely expensive. The station is old, big, and has received several expansions and upgrades over the last two decades. Moving forward, NASA plans to save tons of money by visiting and interacting with commercial outposts rather than operating one colossal space station.
NASA has agreements with Blue Origin, Nanoracks, Northrop Grumman and Axiom, which is only the first phase of its upcoming two-phase effort to continue space exploration, testing, and maintain a continuous human presence in low-Earth orbit. Those companies are who NASA selected to help design and build the next space station, which it hopes will be in orbit by 2028.
By visiting commercial outposts and space stations handled by China and Russia, NASA will save tons of funds while still gathering data, which should help with deep space explorations in the future.
via Digital Trends