Fate of ISS..?

Whenever we add some module to it, do some major repairs, I always startup questioning when ISS is planned to end its life.

I mean when you think ISS will be out service? How they will deorbit it? It is quite big and moving with great energy and bringing it down is surely a tough nut to crack. Will there be any casualty.


2 Answers

  • Dan S
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    International Space Station

    Expected completion 2010

    Expected end of service life 2016

    Probably end of service life unknown

    Cost: huge, but the payback in science has also been huge all of our advanced materials come from the space program.

    According to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_S...

    "The projected completion date is 2010, with the station remaining in operation until around 2016. As of 2008, the ISS is already larger than any previous space station...

    At an estimated cost of €100 billion (~US$157 billion) for the ISS project from its start until the program will end in 2017,[10] the ISS is the most expensive object ever built by humankind."

    Because of that cost I think we will be seeing the ISS in some form well into the next century. There is no safe way to deorbit it, and we don't have enough rocket power on the shuttle to push it out of orbit and away from earth. Every time a supply mission is sent to the ISS part of that load will be a gas used to push the station back into its orbit. When the Shuttle docks with the station it often nudges it back into its orbit. Since it is in such a low orbit it has to overcome a lot of air resistance and if regular resupply missions aren't made then we will have another disaster like that with Sky Lab or Mir. The ISS is larger than both of those stations were and it carries dangerous material like ammonia (a coolant) pure oxygen under pressure (which could explode) and stuff like hydrazine fuel. The US recently blew up a falling satellite because of the danger of its hydrazine fuel entering the atmosphere.

    The Wikipedia article continues:

    "Attitude control

    The attitude (orientation) of the station is maintained by either of two mechanisms. Normally, a system using several control moment gyroscopes (CMGs) keeps the station oriented, i.e. with Destiny forward of Unity, the P truss on the port side and Pirs on the earth-facing (nadir) side. When the CMG system becomes saturated, it can lose its ability to control station attitude. In this event, the Russian Attitude Control System is designed to take over automatically, using thrusters to maintain station attitude and allowing the CMG system to desaturate. This happened during Expedition 10. When a shuttle orbiter is docked to the station, it can also be used to maintain station attitude. This procedure was used during STS-117 as the S3/S4 truss was being installed.

    Altitude control

    The ISS is maintained at an orbit from a minimum altitude limit of 278 km to a maximum limit of 460 km. The normal maximum limit is 425 km to allow Soyuz rendezvous missions. Because ISS is constantly falling due to minute atmospheric drag and gravity gradient effects, it needs to be boosted to a higher altitude several times each year. A graph of altitude over time shows that it drifts down almost 2.5 km per month. The boosting can be performed by two boosters on the Zvezda module, a docked Space Shuttle, or by a Progress resupply vessel and takes approximately two orbits (three hours) in which it is boosted several kilometers higher. While it is being built the altitude is relatively low so that it is easier to fly the Space Shuttle with its big payloads to the space station."

    The ISS is too dangerous to let fall and too brittle to let it stay in orbit unmanned. It is a huge money hog and eventually the cost to maintain it will be more than the cost to replace it. At that point it would probably be best to deorbit the station and then right before it starts to really heat up explode the station so the pieces that rain down will be small enough to burn up. Remember that the space shuttle's main tank is a one use item. It is allowed to fall back into the atmosphere and it burns up. A few well placed charges and a sharp deorbit can insure the ISS won't hurt a fly when its time is finally up.

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  • 1 decade ago

    they will most likely aim for the pacific ocean, which is a pretty big target, by nudging it into a lower faster orbit. most of it would likely just burn up in the atomsphere. not alot of the station would even make it thur as it doesnt have a heat shield.

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