The International Space Station It has been showing for some time that the day of his retirement is approaching. The breakdowns they are becoming more frequent and it is clear that their useful life is coming to an end. Therefore, the POT He has been planning for some time how to return it to Earth without posing a risk to the population. His plan has recently been made public with the latest white house budgets and shows that, at the very least, it will be quite expensive.
Specifically, it has been announced that 180 million dollars at the beginning of the construction of a tug for the International Space Station. Of course, that would only be the initial budget. According to statements at a press conference, collected by Space.comfrom NASA’s head of human spaceflight, Kathy Lueders, it would take about billion dollars for the entire process.
This would consist of using a tugboat that would hit the right pull to deorbit the International Space Station at the ideal moment for its landing to take place in Point Nemo. This is a point located in the Pacific Ocean, which is considered the furthest possible place from any land mass. It would be the safest for the population, contrary to what has happened with some rockets whose return to Earth was carried out without control.
A tug of its own to return the International Space Station to Earth
Initially, the maneuvers to return the International Space Station to Earth could have been carried out with progress, a Russian spaceship. However, the breaking of ties between United States and Russia to The aftermath of the Ukrainian war has led NASA to want to build its own tugboat.
This will be carried to the International Space Station and pulled to just the point in its orbit where it can land in a controlled manner on Point Nemo. The exact moment in which this will occur is not yet clear, although it is estimated that it will be approximately in 2030.
More than 30 years in orbit
The first pieces of the International Space Station were put into orbit in 1998. At that time there was no deadline for its operation. It all depends on your performance in the coming years.
However, his retirement began to be seen as something clear a long time ago. To level economic and bureaucratic, one of the big blows of the station was the withdrawal of Roscosmos, one of its most important partners. The Russian Space Agency announced that it would withdraw from the facilities in 2024. However, the rest of the partners have signed to remain active until 2030.
Beyond that would be complicated, since there have also been numerous technical incidents. Several breakdowns, some in the form of holes that could have put the crew at risk, have highlighted the need to start thinking about their retirement.
It is a facility 420 tons, so it is not enough to drop it. A withdrawal plan like the one NASA is now announcing is necessary, so as not to endanger the population. Thanks to the billion-dollar tugboat, it will be possible to bring a dignified and safe end to this great milestone in the space race. He still has a few years to go, but it is such an important maneuver that it should not be left to the last moment.