NASA unveils plan to return the ISS to Earth without endangering the public
A tugboat will be used to de-orbit the International Space Station and drop it into the ocean, as far as possible from any human-inhabited area.
The International Space Station has long shown that his retirement day is approaching. Breakdowns occur more and more often, and it becomes clear that its service life is coming to an end. That's why NASA has been planning for a long time how to bring it back to Earth without endangering the population. His plan was recently made public with the latest White House budgets and shows that, at a minimum, it will be quite expensive.
In particular, it was announced that $180 million would be allocated to begin construction of a tugboat for the International Space Station. And that's just the initial budget. According to press conference statements compiled by Space.com, about a billion dollars would be needed for the full process, according to NASA's Human Space Flight Chief Kathy Lueders.
The tug will be used to de-orbit the International Space Station in time for it to land at Point Nemo, a point in the Pacific Ocean that is considered the furthest from any landmass. This would be the safest for the population, unlike what happened with some rockets, which returned to Earth in an uncontrolled manner.
Own tug to return the International Space Station to Earth
Initially, maneuvers to return the International Space Station to Earth could be carried out with the help of the Russian Progress spacecraft. However, the loosening of US-Russian ties prompted NASA to make plans to create its own tug.
It will be delivered to and removed from the International Space Station at exactly the point in its orbit where it can land in a controlled manner at Cape Nemo. The exact time when this will happen is not yet clear, although it is estimated that it will happen around 2030.
A little history of the ISS
The first parts of the International Space Station were put into orbit in 1998. At that time there was no deadline for its exploitation. Everything will depend on how it will work in the coming years.
However, his "retirement" has long been taken for granted. Various breakdowns, some in the form of holes that could endanger the crew, indicated the need to consider ending the operation of the station.