First it was the last launch, and landing, of NASA’s space shuttle and now we find out that our other bastion in space, the International Space Station will come to the end of its life in 2020 with the ignoble crashing into an ocean somewhere.
The reason given for sending it into the depth is this way it won’t end up becoming a huge hunk of space debris that could endanger satellites and any future space travel above the earth.
“Right now we’ve agreed with our partners that the station will be used until approximately 202 … 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” Vitaly Davydov, deputy chief, Roskosmos space agency
This news of course comes on the heels of China’s announcement that they are preparing to build their own space station.
China’s new space palace, called “Tiangong” (or “heavenly palace,” see?) will be far smaller than the ISS, tipping the scales up here in zero-g at a mere 60 tons to the 450 tons or so of the ISS. It’ll consist of one primary module (the one in the above pic, launching before the end of the year) along with two experiment modules and some extra docking ports for cargo craft.