NASA proposes new satellite to permanently destroy the International Space Station

The International Space Station is being crashed back into the Earth, and NASA is still figuring out how to do it. In order to safely bring the massive space base back to the planet, NASA is investing billions into a Space Tug satellite that will be used to destroy the ISS.

Revealed in the space administration‘s budget proposition for 2024, NASA revealed its very expensive plans for its ISS destroyer. With the ISS destruction planned for 2031, NASA already wants to make preparations.

President Joe Biden has increased the space administration’s budget by 7% for 2024. This means that the firm will have a massive $27.2 billion budget to fund new technologies, moon landing missions and Mars exploration.

NASA Chief Financial Officer Margaret Vo Schaus told reporters that the new budget has already outlined its priorities. The ISS destruction project has been budgeted alongside establishing human presence on The Moon and sending samples from Mars.

The budget asks for $180 million to safely destroy the International Space Station in 2031. Previously, NASA had planned to use Russia’s Progress spacecraft to deorbit the ISS, but recent tensions may have squandered that plan, although NASA claims its still on the table.

“Our current model is still to use [the Russian spacecraft] and we’re continuing to work with our Russian counterparts on how to deorbit safely with the Progress vehicles,” said associate administrator for NASA Space Operations Kathy Lueders told Gizmodo. “But we are also developing this U.S. capability as a way to have redundancy and be able to better aid the targeting of the vehicle and the safe return of the vehicle.”

Orbiting the Earth since 1998, the International Space Station has spent over 24 years in space. Initially set to be retired in 2013, the space station will live for 17 more years than intended.

The reason for the ISS’ retirement is due to the danger it poses. Due to the stress of being in space, the space station is starting to fail within entire modules and could one day crash in an unplanned, unsafe way.

When the station is crashed back to Earth in 2031, the space station will be retired to the Spaceship Graveyard, a location in the Pacific Ocean dubbed Point Nemo. This will mark the resting place of one of the greatest collaborations mankind has ever had. 

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