NATIONAL NEWS

NASA plans to retire the International Space Station by 2031 by crashing it into the Pacific Ocean

Feb 2, 2022, 11:52 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:18 pm
NASA plans to retire the International Space Station by 2031 by crashing it into the Pacific Ocean....
NASA plans to retire the International Space Station by 2031 by crashing it into the Pacific Ocean. Pictured is the International Space Station on Nov. 8, 2021. (NASA)
(NASA)

(CNN) — NASA intends to keep operating the International Space Station until the end of 2030, after which the ISS would be crashed into a remote part of the Pacific Ocean known as Point Nemo, according to newly published plans outlining its future.

Launched in 2000, the space lab has orbited 227 nautical miles above Earth with more than 200 astronauts from 19 different countries enjoying stints aboard — representing a continuous human presence in space.

NASA said that commercially operated space platforms would replace the ISS as a venue for collaboration and scientific research.

“The private sector is technically and financially capable of developing and operating commercial low-Earth orbit destinations, with NASA’s assistance. We look forward to sharing our lessons learned and operations experience with the private sector to help them develop safe, reliable, and cost-effective destinations in space,” said Phil McAlister, director of commercial space at NASA Headquarters in a statement.

“The report we have delivered to Congress describes, in detail, our comprehensive plan for ensuring a smooth transition to commercial destinations after retirement of the International Space Station in 2030.”

Space graveyard

In the International Space Station Transition Report, NASA said the plan was for the ISS to fall to Earth in an area known as the South Pacific Oceanic Uninhabited Area — also known as Point Nemo. The report said that its budget estimate assumed that the deorbit would happen in January 2031.

Named after the submarine sailor in Jules Verne’s novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” Point Nemo is the point in the ocean that is farthest from land and has been a watery grave for many other spacecraft.

The area is approximately 3,000 miles off of New Zealand’s eastern coast and 2,000 miles north of Antarctica and it’s estimated that space-faring nations such as the US, Russia, Japan and European countries have sunk more than 263 pieces of space debris there since 1971.

The report said the ISS would perform thrusting maneuvers that would ensure “safe atmospheric entry.”

Third decade

The ISS won’t rest on its laurels for the next eight years. NASA said goals for the next decade including using the ISS as “analog for a Mars transit mission,” according to the report.

“The International Space Station is entering its third and most productive decade as a groundbreaking scientific platform in microgravity,” said Robyn Gatens, director of the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters, said in the statement.

“This third decade is one of results, building on our successful global partnership to verify exploration and human research technologies to support deep space exploration, continue to return medical and environmental benefits to humanity, and lay the groundwork for a commercial future in low-Earth orbit.”

“We look forward to maximizing these returns from the space station through 2030 while planning for transition to commercial space destinations that will follow.”

The space station has been home to many scientific firsts. The first item to be 3D-printed on the space station occurred in 2014. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins sequenced DNA in space for the first time in 2016. And the fifth state of matter, called a Bose-Einstein condensate, was produced in space by NASA’s Cold Atom Lab on the station in 2018.

Astronauts have learned how to grow lettuces and leafy greens in space. The first space-grown salad was sampled by astronauts in 2015. Now, they’re even growing radishes and chilis on the station. This could be used to one day help astronauts grow their own food on deep space missions.

China, whose astronauts have long been excluded from the ISS, launched the first module of its planned space station last year. While not as large as the ISS, the Chinese space station is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year.

Russia has said it will leave the ISS project in 2025 and plans to build its own space station that could launch in 2030.


The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Hours after gunfire interrupted the Highland Park, Illinois, July Fourth parade, killing six people...
Dakin Andone, Steve Almasy and Curt Devine, CNN

What we know about the Highland Park shooting suspect

Robert "Bobby" E. Crimo III, 21, faces seven charges of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting in Highland Park, Illinois.
21 hours ago
FILE IMAGE - Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury durring pregame warmups at Footprint Center...
DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer

White House: Biden has read Griner letter pleading for help

Brittney Griner’s appeal to President Joe Biden in a handwritten letter continued to garner reaction Tuesday after the WNBA All-Star acknowledged she feared never returning home and asked Biden not “forget about me and the other American Detainees.”
21 hours ago
HIGHLAND PARK, IL - JULY 05: Law enforcement work the scene of a shooting at a Fourth of July parad...
Amir Vera, Jason Hanna, Adrienne Broaddus and Helen Regan, CNN

Highland Park parade shooting suspect charged with 7 counts of murder, state’s attorney says

The suspect in Monday's mass shooting at a July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois, that left seven dead and injured more than two dozen has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.
21 hours ago
An Atlanta-area special grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump's attempts to overtu...
Sara Murray and Jason Morris, CNN

Graham, Giuliani, Eastman and other Trump advisers subpoenaed in Georgia election probe

An Atlanta-area special grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia has subpoenaed a handful of key Trump allies, including his former attorney and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham
21 hours ago
R&B singer R. Kelly (L) arrives at the Cook County courthouse where jury selection is scheduled to ...
Associated Press

In reversal, prosecutors say R. Kelly off suicide watch

Prosecutors say R. Kelly is no longer on suicide watch following the jailed R&B singer's sentencing in a federal sex abuse case.
21 hours ago
A person pumps gas at a Shell gas station on April 01, 2022, in Houston, Texas. The Biden administr...
Alicia Wallace and Chris Isidore, CNN

Oil drops below $100 a barrel for first time since early May

For the first time in nearly two months, crude oil prices have fallen below $100 a barrel, reflecting investors' growing concerns of a US recession.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
NASA plans to retire the International Space Station by 2031 by crashing it into the Pacific Ocean