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In this handout photo provided by NASA, Astronaut Rick Mastracchio, STS-118 mission specialist, participates in the mission's third planned session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station August 15, 2007 in Space.

Shocking news, as NASA plans to crash the International Space Station into the Pacific Ocean! OK… so maybe it’s not quite all that dramatic. And maybe it’s not coming anytime soon.

But yes, NASA does plan to crash the International Space Station at the end of its operation timetable, sometime around 2030. That’s after the Biden-Harris administration extended the timetable an additional six or so years, taking advantage of what experts say is the most productive time period the ISS has experienced.

“The International Space Station is entering its third and most productive decade as a groundbreaking scientific platform in microgravity,” said Robyn Gatens, director of the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters. “This third decade is one of results, building on our successful global partnership to verify exploration and human research technologies to support deep space exploration, continue to return medical and environmental benefits to humanity, and lay the groundwork for a commercial future in low-Earth orbit. We look forward to maximizing these returns from the space station through 2030 while planning for transition to commercial space destinations that will follow.”

So how big will the splash be? From 227 miles above, it will be spectacular.

We have all heard “all good things must come to an end” and that applies to our International Space Station. At the end of January, NASA issued a report that outlined exactly how it plans to transition the ISS to its end of service. It’s a lot of technical jargon, but basically they’ll start powering the ISS down and allowing it to reenter Earth’s atmosphere. Exact timing isn’t known yet, because there are a lot of variables. But once it is time, this is what they’ll do:

“Eventually, after performing maneuvers to line up the final target ground track and debris footprint over the South Pacific Oceanic Uninhabited Area (SPOUA), the area around Point Nemo, ISS operators will perform the ISS re-entry burn, providing the final push to lower ISS as much as possible and ensure safe atmospheric entry,” the report said.

That’s a fancy way of saying… “We’re gonna crash this thing into the ocean, but somewhere NOBODY exists.”

Check out this video of the International Space Station, and then check out some of the amazing photos that have been taken on board the ISS.


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