A top Russian space official has revealed Russian plan of de-orbiting the International Space Station (ISS) in 2020 after it stops operation. ISS which is a $160 billion (estimated) internationally developed research facility, was originally supposed to be de-orbited into the ocean in 2015 but a recent agreement extended its life until at least 2020.
Russia has already de-orbited its own space station Mir into the Pacific Ocean in 2001 after 15 years in operation and it looks like ISS will have the same fate sooner or later.
Vitaly Davydov who is the current deputy head of the Russian space agency, said in a web statement:
“After it completes its existence, we will be forced to sink the ISS. It cannot be left in orbit, it’s too complex, too heavy an object, it can leave behind lots of rubbish. Right now we’ve agreed with our partners that the station will be used until approximately 2020.“
ISS was a joint project between five participant space agencies which are:
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
- Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA)
- Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
- Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
- European Space Agency (ESA)
ISS now consists of more than a dozen modules and can accommodate six residents. It is the biggest orbiting outpost ever built and can sometimes be seen even from the Earth with the naked eye.
There are unconfirmed reports that mention a further extension of ISS’s life which will make it operational till 2028 but no official word has been out regarding this ‘further life extension’ news.