Tech UPTechnologyThis is how NASA will 'destroy' the ISS in...

This is how NASA will 'destroy' the ISS in 2031

NASA has released its plans for the final disassembly of the International Space Station once it reaches the last days of its useful life, something that is expected to happen in the month of January 2031.


How does NASA plan to decommission the ISS?

For more than two decades, the International Space Station has served as a base of operations for astronauts from around the world . It has enabled scientists to provide some of the most exciting images, data and discoveries directly from outer space. But soon the time will come to say goodbye, and this time forever, to the International Space Station.

It will be in 2031 and the way to execute its dismantling has just been revealed by NASA: the plan is to crash the huge structure into a “spaceship graveyard” located at the most remote point of the ocean, known as Point Nemo, an uninhabited area of the South Pacific Ocean.

Point Nemo is therefore the place where decommissioned spacecraft usually end up, as they tend to point them at this point in the ocean when they return to Earth. Satellites and rockets “rest” there.


The transition

Although 2031 seems very close in time, it must be remembered that the space station would have lived twice as long as expected according to the original recommendations of the space agency. Fortunately, thanks to the support of US President Joe Biden, the space station will continue to operate until 2030, focusing its future operations on securing the upper structure, as each new docking and undocking adds more stress, and leaks and other problems are increasing. more and more common. Its future plans include being a destination for movie sets, as well as its transition to the next low-Earth orbit spacecraft that will replace it as the neutral space ground for astronauts worldwide.

To ensure that the ISS does not become a space hazard, it will be allowed to fall into the atmosphere. At that point, all commercial modules and some of the more reliable old modules, which could include newer Russian installations, will be separated from the structure. The Space Station will fire the engines of the station and the vehicles connected to it, to lower it from its orbit. Several uncrewed spacecraft will be sent to the ISS in its final days before leaving orbit, to help push it toward Earth. Thus, in January 2031, the station will pass the point of no return, where drag will rapidly accelerate its descent into the atmosphere. Since it is so large, it will not completely disintegrate during re-entry into the atmosphere, so NASA has planned a long, slow descent, which will allow controllers to maneuver and direct it towards the “South Pacific Oceanic Uninhabited Area”. “ or SPOUA.

“The ISS is a unique laboratory that is bringing tremendous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit people on Earth and is facilitating our ability to travel into deep space,” NASA wrote in announcing the new plan.

Its ‘substitute’ will be the Lunar Gateway, a small station and communication center that would support manned expeditions to the Moon and beyond.

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