NASA has announced that the International Space Station will be sunk into the Pacific in 2031

NASA has announced that the International Space Station will be sunk into the Pacific in 2031

It will splash down near Point Nemo in the Pacific Ocean, where it will be laid to rest

Updated on February 07, 2022 10:14 AM by Andrew Koschiev

NASA has declared that the International Space Station will be sunk into the sea in January 2031.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the orbiting laboratory, which launched in 1998, will splash down 1,678 miles (2,700 kilometres) from shore at Point Nemo, the last Pacific Ocean resting place for numerous deceased satellites and space stations, including Russia's Mir (NOAA).

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NASA revealed in late December that the ISS's new expiration date is due to a Biden Administration agreement to prolong support for the space station's operations into 2030. The space agency announced a new transition strategy for science in low-Earth orbit this week.

NASA has struck agreements with three private companies to launch commercial space stations for use by both private corporations and government astronauts in the run-up to the ISS's decommissioning. According to NASA, Blue Origin, Nanoracks LLC, and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation will launch these new commercial space stations. They should be operational by the late 2020s, just in time for the ISS to be sunk into the ocean.

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"With NASA's help, the private sector is capable of creating and operating commercial low-Earth orbit destinations on a technological and financial level. We are excited to share our lessons learned and operational experience with the private sector in order to assist them in developing safe, dependable, and cost-effective space destinations "In a statement, NASA's director of commercial space, Phil McAlister, said.Meanwhile, the ISS will be occupied with experiments conducted on behalf of NASA researchers as well as private contractors.

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"As a trailblazing research platform in microgravity, the International Space Station is entering its third and most productive decade," Robyn Gatens, director of the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters, said in a statement. "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, this third decade is one of results."

Experiments to assist NASA's ambitions to send humans back to the moon and to Mars are among the long-term work being done on the space station, according to the agency. NASA plans to send the first woman and person of colour to the moon this decade, though the date has been pushed back from 2024 to "no sooner than 2025."

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The ISS has been continually occupied since 2000, but the construction, which stretches the length of a football field, is showing its age. Small fractures were discovered in the Zarya module of the space station in 2021, the second time fissures had been discovered aboard the orbiting lab since 2019.

Despite the fact that space stations have previously been deorbited, the ISS is the largest man-made object to ever occupy low-Earth orbit. According to Space.com, a sister site of Live Science, orbiting it could be difficult. NASA's Skylab space station deorbited in a haphazard and ultimately uncontrolled manner in 1979, dispersing debris across Australia. (Fortunately, no one was injured.) According to Space.com, the ISS is massive enough that much of it will not burn up in the atmosphere, and its irregularly shaped solar arrays may make it difficult to manage as it spirals downward.

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