Thursday, December 03, 2020

As Went Arecibo - Now Goes America's International Space Station...,

spaceaustralia |  On November 2nd, 2000, humans set foot on the International Space Station (ISS). What we now know as two decades of continuous habitation in space.

During these 20 years, the US$150 billion orbital space lab has hosted 241 crew members from 19 different countries. And in doing so, has made up 43% of all people in space.

The 16 module station houses four Russian, nine US, two Japanese, and one European module with six regular crew members taking six-monthly shifts. To date, the rotating crew have conducted more than 3,000 scientific experiments.

But as the bi-decadal benchmark came and went, we were reminded that all good things come to an end.

And the ISS is no different.

 Although the ISS is cleared to circle Earth until 2028, wear and tear is an issue. And the White House has "asked" NASA to stop finding the ISS in 2025.

It's highly doubtful that NASA will clear the space station for another run past 2028, and will be decommissioned sometime shortly after.

A good run considering its expected shelf-life was only 15 years.

The station's mileage has seen a Russian toilet go kaput, an oxygen-supply system on the fritz, and a notorious air leak worsen over time. Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka said of the Russian side of the ISS, "All modules of the Russian segment are exhausted,'

And it's not like a Russian - let alone a Russian cosmonaut - to complain.

Once NASA decides to retire and decommission the space station, the complex will be de-orbited over the Pacific Ocean, most likely burning up during re-entry.

So, what does a post-ISS space look like?