End of Mission: How NASA Plans to Destroy the ISS

End of Mission: How NASA Plans to Destroy the ISS

Since its inauguration in 2000, the International Space Station (ISS) has become a true symbol of international collaboration and technological excellence. After more than twenty years of uninterrupted orbit and the passage of more than 250 astronauts in its modules, NASA now plans to close this space chapter by 2030.

How can such a colossal structure be safely dismantled? Indeed, with its dimensions comparable to those of a football pitch (108 metres long by 74 metres wide) and its mass of around 450 tonnes, Disintegrating the ISS represents a technical and logistical challenge unprecedented in the history of space exploration..

Only one solution: controlled deorbiting

Faced with the inevitable retirement of the ISS, NASA has long weighed various options for managing this imposing orbital structure.The agency finally set its sights on SpaceXawarding Elon Musk’s company an $843 million contract to organize this delicate deorbiting operation. This choice, far from being fortuitous, is part of the continuity of SpaceX’s meteoric rise in the space sector.

The chosen strategy is based on the use of a deorbiting vehicle, a space tug, responsible for piloting the controlled descent of the ISS into the Earth’s atmosphereThe idea is to tow the station and have most of it burn up on re-entry, thereby greatly reducing the risk of debris being scattered.

Those elements that are resistant to disintegration will be carefully directed towards Point Nemo.a remote area of ​​the Pacific Ocean, approximately 2,700 km from any inhabited land, traditionally used as the final resting place for spacecraft. The exceptional size of the ISS requires increased vigilance to ensure a smooth end to the mission. NASA and SpaceX will have to maintain absolute control until the last moment, ensuring that any residual debris does not reach any populated area.

As the ISS moves toward its operational twilight, NASA is already looking ahead to the post-ISS era. Space agency considers relying on private orbital stations to continue its space explorations and experiments. Nevertheless, theThe precise outlines of these future collaborations with the private sector remain unclear.pending the actual implementation of such installations in orbit.

  • NASA plans to deorbit the ISS within the next decade using a space tug provided by SpaceX.
  • Most of the ISS will burn up during atmospheric reentry, with the remaining debris heading toward Point Nemo in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Once the ISS is retired, NASA plans to rely on private space stations for future missions

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