NASA to Crash International Space Station Into Pacific Ocean After Retirement in 2030

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ISS - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.02.2022
The International Space Station (ISS), a project which has been working with other international space agencies since 2000, will be retiring at the end of 2030. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to crash the ISS into the South Pacific Ocean once it retires and will replace it with commercially-operated platforms.
NASA published their transition plans in January, detailing that the space station is fated to crash into the South Pacific Ocean, specifically targeting a spot called Point Nemo. The report estimates that the ISS will join other space debris in the oceanic graveyard where other countries like Russia, Japan, and the US have already sunk over 263 pieces of space debris since 1971.
The ISS is a multinational project that has united five major countries, including Russia, Japan, Canada, and the European Union, as well as international organizations in their developments and scientific achievements in space. NASA says commercially-operated platforms will replace the ISS, which has collaborated with more than 200 astronauts from 19 different countries.
In early December 2021, NASA signed agreements with three US-based commercial space industries based in an attempt to “enable a robust, American-led commercial economy in low-Earth orbit,” their statement read.
Those agreements are worth a total of $415.6 million, and the chosen companies are Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, Nanoracks LLC of Houston,Texas, and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation of Dulles, Virginia.
“With commercial companies now providing transportation to low-Earth orbit in place, we are partnering with US companies to develop the space destinations where people can visit, live, and work, enabling NASA to continue forging a path in space for the benefit of humanity while fostering commercial activity in space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
The ISS has aided in a multitude of accomplishments, such as generating more than 700 scientific publications, discoveries in physiology and nutrition, cancer drugs, climate change, the understanding of dark matter, DNA sequencing and educating over 43 million students from 49 countries.
However, despite the space station’s assistance in scientific experiments, the station’s technical lifetime is limited, even with maintenance help from the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
But before it retires, the ISS still has almost a full decade left to its future. "The International Space Station is entering its third and most productive decade as a groundbreaking scientific platform in microgravity," Robyn Gatens, director of the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters, said in the statement.
"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.”
“We look forward to maximizing these returns from the space station through 2030 while planning for transition to commercial space destinations that will follow,” Gatens added.
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