NASA has announced that the International Space Station (ISS) will sink in the sea in January 2031. Launched in 1998, the Orbital Laboratory will collapse for another nine years at a distance of 2,700 km from land at the point of development in the Pacific Ocean, the eternal location of most of the satellites and space stations such as the Russian Mir station.
NASA announced in late December that the Biden government was committed to extending support for International Space Station operations until the end of 2030, according to LiveScience. Last week, the space agency unveiled a new transition plan for near-Earth scientific activities. In China, NASA has signed agreements with three companies to launch private space stations for use by private companies and state-owned astronauts. The private space stations, which are expected to be operational by the end of the 2020s and before the ISS crashes at sea, will be launched by Blue Argin, Nanorex and Northrop Grumman.
Phil McAllisterThe director of the commercial station unit at NASA headquarters said in a statement:
The private sector can technically and financially build and operate commercial destinations in near-Earth orbit. We look forward to sharing what we have learned and the experience of our operations with the private sector to help them create safe, secure and cost-effective space destinations.
Meanwhile, both NASA researchers and private contractors on the International Space Station will continue to conduct experiments. Robin GittensThe director of the International Space Station at NASA headquarters said in a statement:
The space station is entering the third and most productive decade of its life as a pioneering scientific platform in its microgranial environment.
According to NASA, among the long-term operations on the space station are experiments aimed at supporting NASA’s plans to send humans to the moon and Mars. NASA plans to send the first woman and the first person of color to the moon in the current decade. The initial date for achieving this goal was 2024; But it was later postponed to 2025.
The International Space Station has been continuously residential since 2000; But this large structure, the size of a football field, is deteriorating. The astronauts last found small cracks in the Zaria module in the summer of 2021.
Although space stations have already been taken out of orbit, the International Space Station is the largest man-made object to occupy near-Earth orbit. It may be difficult to remove this large structure.
In 1979, the unorganized and out-of-control departure of the Skylab space station from orbit scattered fragments of its wreckage across Australia, which fortunately no one was harmed. Much of the International Space Station is likely to burn up when it crashes into the atmosphere; But irregularly shaped station solar panels are likely to make it difficult to control when leaving the circuit.