Categories: Space Station

How To Dispose of a Space Station


With the life of the International Space Station extended to at least 2020, we don’t have to think about its demise for awhile. But actually, NASA and the international partners do have to think about and plan ahead for how this huge 400-ton structure in space will one day be deorbited and disposed of. Friend and venerable space writer Leonard David has written an article about how NASA is starting to consider how they will organize and execute “dumping the huge facility into select, but remote, ocean waters in one fell swoop.” It ain’t gonna be easy, and that’s why thorough planning is a must. It might take a combination of vehicles (ESA’s ATV, Russian Progess) to send the ISS on a very safe and precise swan dive. Or, another possibility is that some of the modules could be re-used elsewhere.

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Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

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