NASA to Retire the ISS by Crashing It Into the Ocean by Late 2030
According to NASA's plan, in January 2031, the ISS will perform a series of maneuvers to descend slowly. The station will then enter the Earth's atmosphere, and its fragments should be crashed into the Pacific Ocean.
NASA published an International Space Station Transition Report, in which the space agency outlined further plans as to the operation of the International Space Station (ISS). It is expected to operate until at least 2030, and then NASA will safely remove it from orbit.
According to NASA's plan, in January 2031, the ISS will perform a series of maneuvers to descend slowly. The station will then enter the Earth atmosphere, and its fragments should be crashed into a remote part of the Pacific Ocean known as Point Nemo – the point in the ocean that was farthest away from any land.
The first ISS component was launched in 1998. It is a joint project of the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and Europe. The ISS's life expectancy has been extended to 2024, but NASA also expects to extend the station's operation until at least 2030.
Previously, NASA signed an agreement with three US companies that will develop designs for commercial space stations and other commercial destinations in space that will replace the ISS in the future and will be used by both government and private customers.
By switching to other platforms, NASA plans to maintain the US presence in low Earth orbit. The new agreements should stimulate new independent commercial space stations' development.