Nasa chooses SpaceX to develop a means of destroying the ISS after 2030

Steph Deschamps / June 28, 2024

 
Nasa announced on Wednesday that it had selected SpaceX to build a vehicle capable of pushing the International Space Station back into the Earth's atmosphere, enabling it to be destroyed after its retirement in 2030.
 
The contract won by Elon Musk's billionaire company has a total value of up to $843 million, according to a Nasa press release.
 
The U.S. space agency had already announced its intention to plunge the International Space Station (ISS) into the Earth's atmosphere over an ocean at the end of its life. Some pieces will disintegrate during the maneuver, while others, more resistant, will end up in the sea.
 
But this operation requires the development of a powerful vehicle, capable of maneuvering a space station weighing some 430,000 kg.
 
SpaceX's vehicle should enable "de-orbiting of the Space Station and avoid any risk to inhabited areas", said Nasa. 
 
Like the ISS, the vehicle is expected to break up on re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, according to the space agency.
 
Once developed, it will belong to NASA, which will operate it during its mission.
 
The USA, Japan, Canada and the Europeans have committed to continuing ISS operations until 2030. Russia is currently committed to 2028.
 
"The safe removal of the International Space Station from orbit is the responsibility of the five space agencies," Nasa wrote soberly on Wednesday.
 
Despite the war in Ukraine, the ISS remains one of the few areas of cooperation between Washington and Moscow.

 

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