How NASA wants to destroy the International Space Station
Man-made debris in space is slowly increasing. In the past few years we have seen debris from various satellites and rockets in space fall to Earth in a completely uncontrolled manner. Basically, various vehicles, instruments or satellites sent into space become unusable after a certain period of time. As a result, these wastes become uncontrollable and fall to the earth due to gravity.
Although it is more common in uninhabited areas, it is not uncommon to cause loss of human life. The International Space Station or ISS is going to turn into such a human waste. The space station, which has been operational for more than two decades, will expire in 2030.
This space station was launched into space in 1998. Initially it was set up with a 15-year plan but now it has been running successfully for over two decades. This International Space Station has allowed the space agencies of 5 countries (USA, Russia, Europe, Canada, Japan) to work together in space. Currently larger than a football field, this space station regularly assists astronauts in various missions in space. It is visible to the naked eye from Earth and the space station orbits the Earth 16 times a day. Located 400 kilometers above Earth, the space station is the largest man-made structure in space.
Various advanced technologies are installed throughout this space station. International Space Station is playing an important role in research in addition to regular data collection on many issues of the world. But recently, NASA has noticed several problems with the space station, such as slowing it down. Basically, the International Space Station regularly faces the problem of being heated on one side by the sun’s radiation and cooled on the other side. As a result, the various parts in it get damaged quickly. And so it will not be possible to use this space station beyond 2030.
Basically, a plan to break up the International Space Station and bring it safely back to Earth has been in the works for a long time. But NASA wants to bring some innovation to that plan. They want to land the International Space Station safely by dragging the entire space station and crashing it into a deserted area on Earth. And for that NASA is planning to build a special space vehicle. The International Space Station is floating in space only when it rotates on a fixed axis around the Earth. Something extra would therefore be needed to deviate from this orbit. And for that purpose this special ‘Space Tug’ will be made. This would easily allow the International Space Station to be towed through Earth’s atmosphere to a location in the Pacific Ocean where it would be incinerated. This secluded place in the Pacific Ocean is called ‘Point Nemo’. It is also called the graveyard of spacecraft.
Earlier, NASA, in collaboration with Russia, planned to destroy the space station in a different way. Originally planned to orbit the International Space Station with some special aircraft in collaboration with Russia’s Roscosmos. Russia had previously landed a space station safely on Earth with this method. However, NASA is not optimistic that Russia will stay in this plan due to the recent deterioration of US relations with Russia. Russia plans to build its own separate space station. That’s why NASA itself is being forced to come up with a new plan to destroy the International Space Station.
NASA’s 2024 budget proposal shows that NASA does not want to rely on Russia to destroy the International Space Station. NASA has asked for a total budget of $27 billion for 2024, with $180 million earmarked for NASA’s planned ‘space tug’. Through this, NASA wants to land the International Space Station safely without the help of Russia. Later, NASA wants to use this space tug for various other missions. But this 180 million will only be needed to start building the space tug. They estimate that it will cost more than 180 million to complete the construction of the entire space craft. It is estimated that about 1 billion dollars will be needed to build this special vehicle.
However, NASA has not completely canceled the previous plan in cooperation with Russia. NASA is still optimistic about its plan to slowly orbit the International Space Station with robots using a Russian cargo ship. But NASA wants to reduce its dependence on Russia by acquiring its own capabilities in these matters. Various other space agencies have already achieved launch capabilities. So NASA wants to keep this power in their own hands. Learn more, the sad farewell of NASA’s robot ‘Insight’ on Mars!
Last year, Russia announced that Roscosmos would no longer use the International Space Station from 2024. They also announced plans to build their own space station. Not only that, as the information of Russia’s Soyuz space mission is regularly leaked, the matter of dependence on them is also being questioned. That’s why NASA wants to keep the options in their hands when it comes to all space missions.
Despite NASA’s budget appeal, the manner in which the International Space Station will be brought down to Earth depends on politics as well as science. An installation as large as the International Space Station has never been attempted before. An uncontrolled crash of the station to Earth would cause massive damage. As a result, NASA does not want to take any risks in this regard.
Before this, in 1979, a NASA space station named Skylab crashed in Australia. However, even though there was no harm to anyone, since then NASA has taken steps to take special precautions in this regard. As the International Space Station is a large structure, it will need to be specifically destroyed. And so NASA wants to be fully prepared for this. Find out more about everything you need to know about SpaceX.