According to NASA’s plan, a new de-orbiting spacecraft will be developed to return the ISS to Earth, and this vehicle will act as a tractor and carry the station to the earth’s atmosphere.
Plans to destroy the station, which will officially expire in 2030, are also included in the White House’s annual budget. It was envisaged that 180 million dollars of the total 27.2 billion dollars given to NASA in the budget will be spent for the new spacecraft to be developed.
Kathy Lueders, NASA’s chief of manned spaceflight, said at a press conference that they expect the cost of the entire operation to reach $1 billion.
According to NASA’s plan, the International Space Station will be lowered into the so-called “Point Nemo” in the Pacific Ocean after being returned to the atmosphere. This region is shown as the last region in the world where human access is difficult. Because of this feature, the region is also used as a kind of “spacecraft cemetery”.
The plan may have been made to avoid being dependent on Russia’s spacecraft.
The International Space Station, which is jointly used and managed by the space agencies of the USA, Russia, EU, Canada and Japan, expires in 2030. In fact, there is already a plan to destroy the station by returning it to earth. According to this plan, it is envisaged that the space station will be safely landed with Progress robotic cargo vehicles to be provided by Russia.
However, the fact that Russia stated that it could leave the partnership established over the ISS “after 2024” seems to have pushed the USA to make a new plan in order not to be dependent on Russia’s space vehicles.
According to NASA administrator Lueders, this plan is also an opportunity for the United States to have its own de-orbiting spacecraft.