Sunday, February 5News For London

International Space Station to crash down to Earth in 2031

By Jack Wang, Sub editor: Ting Lei

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Nasa plans to plunge the ISS into the Pacific Ocean in 2031 (From Wikipedia)

In February 2022, NASA announced that the International Space Station would cease operations in 2030, and crash into the Nemo Sea in the Pacific Ocean in 2031. The US government has told NASA it wants the space station to be retired by 2030. The original plan was to keep the ISS operating until 2024, now the station is planned to operate for six more years. NASA has been looking for ways to turn over the operation of the station to a commercial entity.

What is ISS?

The International Space Station is a multinational project that brings together five parties — Russia, Japan, Canada and the European Union — as well as the development and scientific achievements of other international organizations in the field of space, and has involved more than 200 astronauts from 19 different countries. At the beginning, a total of 16 countries signed the ISS construction agreement and jointly funded the construction, including module construction, information sharing and capital investment. It is estimated to cost 100 billion DOLLARS, making ISS the most expensive project in history. The International Space Station is the largest man-made space station in space and the largest satellite in low Earth orbit.

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Technical blueprint of components. (From Wikipedia)

The International Space Station was designed and construction began in 1993. In 1998, with much fanfare, a Russian rocket launched the first core module, Zarya, into orbit, which was the beginning of the International Space Station. Two weeks later, an American rocket carrying six astronauts and another part of the ISS was assembled. Another rocket was launched later to improve communications and living conditions at the ISS.

About abandoned space stations

Nimmo Point is an uninhabited part of the South Pacific, an area between the coasts of New Zealand and Chile, where spacecraft and satellite debris removed from orbit have been dropped.

Some analysts have dubbed the remote site “a spacecraft Cemetery,” while others have called it “the loneliest place on Earth.” It’s also known as the “inaccessible pole of the ocean,” because its closest point to land is about 2,700 kilometres.

Why was the space station abandoned?

For more than 20 years, the international space station has been in the forefront of research and discovery, NASA headquarters add Carstens robin, director of the international space station (Robyn Gatens) described it as “leading microgravity science platform”, designed to benefit mankind, shape the future of space travel, exploration. However, the international space station is aging, must eventually retired.

According to a report published by the Washington Post, the International Space Station, despite its research significance and benefits to mankind, cannot stay in space forever.

The international Space Station was originally scheduled to end in 2020, but the funding nations have agreed in principle to extend its operation until 2024, because the annual operating cost is about $10 billion, which is a huge amount of money for all the participating nations based on their investment in the ISS. The ISS is managed by five space agencies representing 15 countries. Any extension must be agreed by all partners.

The International Space Station will continue to operate until 2030 under the commitment of current US President Joe Biden’s administration, which had previously pledged to extend the station’s operating life from 2024 to 2030. “The International Space Station won’t last forever, but NASA expects it to operate safely until 2030,” a NASA report said.

Return to Earth

Because of the ISS’s massive size, its return to Earth must be controlled with altitude experience, and mission operators will need the help of some visiting spacecraft to safely lower it.

According to a “de-orbit plan” detailed in the NASA report, operators will perform a series of manoeuvres to “ensure safe entry into the atmosphere.”

Other Factors

The head of The Russian Space agency Roscosmos has said that US sanctions against Russia are hurting the country’s space industry, and he previously said Russia could stop participating in the International Space Station if the sanctions are not lifted.

There are also rumours that the United States has threatened Russia with further sanctions if it invades Ukraine.