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International Space Station will plunge into the Pacific ocean in 2031: NASA

Russia launches supply rocket to ISS
Source: Pixabay

NASA confirmed in a new transition plan released this week that the International Space Station (ISS) will continue operations until 2030 and then plunge into the Pacific Ocean’s most remote point in 2031.

According to budget estimates from the space agency, the ISS, which was launched in 1998, will be “de-orbited” in January 2031. This update marks a significant milestone in Space News, shaping the future of space exploration endeavors.

The space station will make a dramatic descent before splash-landing in Point Nemo, which is about 2,700 kilometres from any land and has become known as the space cemetery — a final resting place for decommissioned space stations, old satellites, and other human space debris, according to the Guardian.

The region surrounding the space cemetery is also known as the “Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility” or the “South Pacific Ocean Uninhabited Area” due to its complete lack of human activity. According to NASA, it is “pretty much the farthest place from any human civilization you can find.”

The space agency announced a new transition plan for low-Earth orbit science this week.

In addition, NASA has signed agreements with three private companies to launch commercial space stations that will be used by both private companies and government astronauts. According to NASA, these new commercial space stations will be launched by Blue Origin, Nanoracks LLC, and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation.

They’re expected to be operational by the late 2020s, before the ISS sinks into the sea, according to

Until then, the ISS will be kept busy with experiments conducted on behalf of NASA researchers as well as private contractors.

“The International Space Station is entering its third and most productive decade as a groundbreaking scientific platform in microgravity,” 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,” he added.

The International Space Station (ISS), which is roughly the size of an American football field, orbits the Earth every 90 minutes and has been continuously occupied by astronauts since November 2000.

According to the BBC, a Russian official warned last September that small cracks on the space station had been discovered and could worsen over time, raising concerns about ageing equipment and the risk of “irreparable failures.”

The space station was designed to last only 15 years, but NASA stated in a report that “there is high confidence that ISS life can be further extended through 2030”, though some analyses of its viability are still being conducted.

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Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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