A variety of alternative plans were evaluated. Finally, NASA decided what the return of the International Space Station (ISS) would look like. NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center requested designs for a U.S. Deorbitation Vehicle (USDV). This “space tug” will facilitate and control the final spiral of the ISS towards the Earth’s atmosphere. It will be when the space station is dismantled in 2030.
«The USDV will rendezvous and dock with the ISS. “It will then carry out attitude control, translation maneuvers and the final configuration of the ISS orbit.” This is how NASA explained it.
On October 3, the space flight agency will hold a virtual conference. Previous proposals on the application will be presented. Proposals must be submitted by Nov. 17, according to the notice. The spacecraft is expected to take years to test and certify.
The spacecraft would be launched just days before the ISS plunged into the sea. It will do so as its orbit decays below 140 miles altitude. If not completely burned up in the atmosphere, uncontrolled re-entry of space debris can be dangerous. Thus, it is common for a more controlled descent to be used to direct debris towards the South Pacific. It is the largest expanse of uninhabited surface on the planet.
Last spring, NASA requested $180 million in its fiscal year 2024 budget. But budget disputes on Capitol Hill resulted in major cuts to its funding. The vehicle is not mentioned in NASA’s budget estimates for 2024. But plans are in place to deorbit the ISS.
The ISS is the largest space structure ever built by humans. It is maintained by a consortium of five space agencies from the United States, Russia, the European Union, Japan and Canada. They have all contributed modules to the station for 24 years. They are used for scientific experiments, space observation, housing and storage, among other things.
The return of the International Space Station will be another milestone in space history. It is expected that the efforts of these countries will continue to join together for the success of the mission.