International Space Station (ISS) partners are making progress, but are still waiting for a complete deorbit plan for the orbital outpost, to be used in the event of contingency event or during its eventual End Of Life (EOL) scenario. The plan is being led by Roscosmos, which is expected to call for at least two Progress vehicles to push the Station out of orbit for a controlled destructive re-entry.
Although the effort is moving forward, NASA’s safety advisory panel – a long time advocate of having an “ISS Deorbit Strategy and Contingency Action Plan” in place – noted the finalizing of the evaluations are making progress, but are proceeding slower than desired.
The ISS continues to be a jewel in humanity’s space-faring crown and has many years of operational lifetime remaining. Currently, the expected lifetime will see it continue to be fully utilized by the ISS partners until around 2028, aided by additional commercial entities take advantage of its capabilities.
However, it will – one day – come to the end of its life, be it via old age, when it suffers enough critical breakdowns that make it impossible to host humans, or via a major accident resulting in contingency ...