Where are we going to crash the International Space Station in 2031?

Where are we going to crash the International Space Station in 2031?

The absorption of the International Space Station will be canceled in January 2031. To do this, it will be voluntarily redirected to Earth. It will disintegrate in the atmosphere, heading towards a precisely defined point: the NEMO point.

The end of the International Space Station (ISS) has been marked. Inhabited since 2000, it must be said that it has become obsolete, to the point that its maintenance will pose more and more technical challenges. NASA wants to continue its work until 2030, and the European Space Agency should usually follow suit (it’s less safe for Russia). But when that date passes, the International Space Station will be gone forever.

In a report, submitted to Congress in early 2022, NASA confirmed That the de-orbiting of the station was scheduled for January 2031.” As NASA looks to a decade of research and technology development results aboard the International Space Station, the agency is taking steps to ensure a successful transition from operations to commercial services. ”, explains the press release. The new stations, which are operated in whole or in part by private companies, will gradually be located in low Earth orbit.

How do you de-orbit a station like the International Space Station? By causing it to disintegrate in the atmosphere in a controlled collision. But not anyway, let alone anywhere of course.

International Space Station. //source: Pixabay

What is Point Nemo, a space dump in the ocean?

Before leaving orbit, the astronauts will leave the ship – of course – and all relevant equipment, which can be salvaged, will be returned to Earth. When the International Space Station is emptied, and all that is left is to discard what is left, it will not be dismantled. This technique would be expensive and dangerous. It will simply be destroyed by crashing the remote control. So the ISS will disintegrate into the atmosphere during this return to Earth.

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And in a well-known epic space cemetery, the relic will land: Point Nemo. It is also called the “Naval Pole of Inaccessibility”, and is located in In the heart of the Pacific Ocean, about 5,000 km off the coast of New Zealand and 3,000 km north of Antarctica. This point is very far from any inhabited place, in terms of distances, most often the closest humans, namely, astronauts aboard the International Space Station, when the station passes through the sky.

It is this geographical specificity that makes it the ideal location for a plane crash, which significantly reduces the risks to humans. This wouldn’t be the first: It’s a real space dump. This is where the old Mir station was pointed in in 2001, or the Skylab station in 1979, and there are hundreds of other space objects – at least 263 since 1971 According to a study published in 2019.

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