NASA chooses SpaceX to build the ship that will destroy the International Space Station

The POT has selected SpaceX to develop the spacecraft that will deorbit the International Space Station. 26 years have passed since its first module was put into orbit and is approaching the end of its operational life. As plans for new private space stations develop, the ISS will have to be safely disposed of after closure in 2030. This operation has earned Elon Musk’s company a contract 843 million dollarsas announced by the space agency this Wednesday.

There are few details about the US Deorbitation Vehicle, as NASA calls it, let them know each other. The agency has clarified that the vehicle will be different from SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which transports cargo and crew to the station, and other vehicles that perform services for it. Unlike these, which are built and operated by SpaceX, NASA will take ownership of the U.S. Deorbiter Vehicle after its development and operate it throughout its mission..

Once the module is docked with the ISS, will push the space station to descend to an altitude of 220 kilometers from the just over 400 in which it currently orbits. Both the vehicle and the ISS They will disintegrate upon re-entering the atmosphere.

One of the main tasks that SpaceX has ahead is ensure that the station re-enters in a way that does not endanger populated areas. Recently, a piece of space debris from the ISS hit the residence There were no personal injuries, but the debris weighing just under 1 kilogram went through the roof and two floors to open a hole in the ground. The debris consisted of a discarded cargo platform from the ISS with a weight before reentry of 2.6 tons. The ISS’s is 1.5 tons. 420 tons.

NASA and its partners considered the use of a spacecraft progress Russian space agency Roscosmos was asked to carry out the deorbiting mission, but studies indicated that a new spacecraft was needed to perform the maneuver. Safe removal of the station is a responsibility shared by the five space agencies operating on the ISS: NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the State Space Corporation Roscosmos.

Before deciding on disintegration during reentry, NASA studied other options for disposing of the ISS. Between them, dismantle the station in orbit or try to raise the ISS to a higher one with a large spacecraft like SpaceX’s Starship.