The International Space Station which has been operating in low Earth orbit since 1998 is getting closer to retirement as some of its parts are becoming weak to operate in space. NASA plans to safely retire the ISS by taking it out of its orbit via a controlled disintegration means into the Earth’s atmosphere. The American space agency recently announced its plans to develop a new spacecraft that will conduct safe disposal of the International Space Station. So what is NASA planning to accomplish in the future with this technology? Continue reading to find out.
How NASA is planning to Safely Retire the International Space Station in 2030 With New Spacecraft
During the allocation of the budget by the Biden Administration for the fiscal year 2024, NASA officials revealed this futuristic plan of safely deorbiting the ISS in 2030. The American space agency was allocated a budget of $27.2 billion which include $180 million to commence with the development of a new space tug that could potentially deorbit the International Space Station after its operation in space.
For the cost of the development, the US Government presented a statement titled “Prepares for the International Space Station’s Safe Transition.” In this budget statement, the US Government went ahead to state its primary interest in creating a special budget for the safe transition of the most powerful space station of our time.
“The International Space Station will need to be safely deorbited at the end of its operational life as the United States transitions to lower-cost commercial space stations. Rather than relying on Russian systems that may not be able to accomplish this task, the Budget provides $180 million to initiate the development of a new space tug that may also be useful for other space transportation missions,” the statement said.
NASA previously received $25.4 Billion for the fiscal year 2023. However, the US Government increased this budget by 7 percent and added an extra $1.8 billion to NASA’s 2024 budget. This budget will enable the American Space Agency to advance its space explorations and make discoveries for mankind. NASA reveals in a statement that the new budgeting will enable it to accomplish preparation toward sending humans to space and reaching the moon under its Artemis Space Program.
From the $180 million specially budgeted for the design of new spacecraft for bringing the ISS down in 2030, NASA will commence with building a powerful system that should be ready before the end of this decade. The space agency will put the newly designed spacecraft into several testing to ensure that it could meet the mission requirements before finally launching it at the right time.
How NASA officials Reacted to the Recent Budget Allocation
The Congress in Washington often decides the amount of allocation NASA should receive each year. NASA’s human spaceflight chief Kathy Lueders is not quite happy with the recent budget allocation because of the huge tasks facing the American Space Agency in space.
“A cost estimate we had was a little short of about $1 billion,” said Kathy Lueders, expressing her opinions about 2024 budget allocation in a press conference on Monday. “Our goal is to go out with an RFP [request for proposals], and then, obviously, when we get the proposals, then we’re hoping to get a better price than that. But this gives us a healthy start in 2024 to get that critical capability onboard.”
Aside from the allocation budgeted for the International Space Station, the 2024 NASA budget includes $8.1 billion for the Artemis Space Program, $500 million to attain net zero carbon emissions from the aviation sector, $949 million for the Mars Sample Return mission which is targeted to return the collected Martian rock samples to Earth, $39 million to improve understanding of increasing debris in low Earth orbit, $1.39 billion for NASA’s Space Technology portfolio, and $158 million for NASA’s Office of STeM engagement.
NASA’s primary goal is to safely deorbit the International Space Station in point Nemo without causing any havoc to habitable regions on Earth. With the plans for this new spacecraft, the football size space station will be safely retired in 2030. What do you think about this innovative idea?