The goodbye plans to the ISS are already on paper and NASA is expected to work with the private stations for the next decade.
NASA ‘s plans with the International Space Station ( ISS ) have one goal: to end its service by 2031 with a possible impact against the Pacific Ocean.
The ISS is humanity’s greatest architectural proof, but with more than 20 years of uninterrupted service , its maintenance is very expensive for NASA, who has decided to license private stations to which they can rent their headquarters for their scientific research. All at a lower cost and with greater benefits.
That is why, in the midst of this transition to these stations, the agency also thinks about the end of its great project, which will end on Earth itself.
The final goodbye
NASA has published the International Space Station Transition Report (PDF), a document with the plans it maintains with the station . Although it is true, there was talk of functionality until 2024, the ISS will continue to operate until 2030, “enough” time for its substitutes to enter orbit .
With the end marked, NASA will “align the final trajectory of the ground target and debris footprint over the South Pacific Uninhabited Zone (SPOUA), the area around Point Nemo.”
Point Nemo is the farthest place in the Pacific Ocean from a point on land: the closest is Ducie Island at 2,688 kilometers.
ISS operators will overhaul the spacecraft, firing its engines to provide the final push to lower it as far as possible and ensure safe atmospheric entry.
Before retiring the ISS, NASA aims to successfully test and validate critical exploration technologies such as environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS) that are most effectively carried out on the spacecraft ; advancing human research to ensure humans can survive and thrive outside of near-Earth orbit; and allow the ISS to be as analogous as possible to a transit mission to Mars.