Home Uncategorized Elon Musk’s SpaceX gets $843m to help discard ISS around 2030

Elon Musk’s SpaceX gets $843m to help discard ISS around 2030


WASHINGTON: Nasa awarded SpaceX $843m to build a vehicle capable of pushing the Internation Space Station into Earth’s atmosphere for its planned destruction around 2030, it said on Wednesday, a task originally meant for Russia’s thrusters.
Under its new Nasa contract, SpaceX will build what the space agency called the US Deorbit Vehicle to deorbit the ISS and avoid risks to populated areas, with Nasa taking ownership of the craft and handling the deorbiting operation.
The football field-sized research lab, led primarily by the US and Russia, has been continuously staffed with govt astronauts during its some 24 years of operation, but its aging components have led Nasa and its foreign partners to set 2030 as a planned retirement date.
The first segment of the ISS was launched in 1998. Weighing 430,000kg, ISS is by far the largest single structure ever built in space. Based on past observations of how other stations such as Mir and Skylab disintegrated on atmospheric re-entry, Nasa engineers expect the orbital outpost to break up in three stages. First, the massive solar arrays and the radiators that keep the orbital lab cool will come off, then individual modules will break off from the truss, or the station’s backbone structure. Finally, the truss and the modules themselves will tear apart. Much of the material will be vaporised, but large pieces are expected to survive. For this reason, Nasa is aiming for an area of the Pacific Ocean called Point Nemo, one of the most remote areas of the world and known as the graveyard of satellites and spaceships.
The US, Japan, Canada and the countries under the European Space Agency have committed to the space station partnership through 2030, while Russia has agreed to remain a partner through 2028, the date through which the Russian space agency Roscosmos believes its hardware can last. Russian thrusters maintain ISS’s orbital altitude and US solar arrays keep its power running.
For after 2030, Nasa has been funding early development of privately built space stations in low-Earth orbit to maintain US presence in the cosmic region, with Airbus and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin involved in those efforts.

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