How the mission of the International Space Station will end

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In early November, the International Space Station (ISS) celebrated its twentieth birthday. Will this cosmic outpost of earthlings live up to its thirtieth birthday?

Discussions in the scientific community do not give a clear answer to this question. In order to remain in low-Earth orbit, the ISS needs regular refueling, which is delivered by space cargo ships. According to an agreement between the countries participating in this project, the launches of cargo ships will be carried out until 2024. NASA management believes that, from a technical point of view, the station can continue to operate for another four years after the specified period and even longer.

But in the end, the ISS will have to descend to earth – either because the project management decides that the station has exhausted its life, or because of a collision with space debris. In any case, according to the site, it is necessary to prepare seriously and in advance for the entry of the ISS into the atmosphere.

Such a large object is unlikely to completely burn out in the atmosphere, so the most optimal scenario is a controlled descent of the station from orbit using navigation jet engines installed on it, which will send unburned parts of the station to the South Pacific. But if the controlled descent fails, parts of the station can reach the ground and cause destruction similar to an aircraft crash. In this case, a fall in a populated area will pose a particular danger. But it will still be less destructive than an asteroid impact, said.

Published in the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” No. 0 dated November 30 -0001

Newspaper headline:
Interrupted flight

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