July 14, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA

NASA selects SpaceX to develop ISS deorbit vehicle

Credit: NASA

Ibadan, June 28, 2024. – Toward the safe and responsible exit of the International Space Station (ISS) after the end of its operational life in 2030, NASA has selected SpaceX to develop and deliver the US deorbit vehicle that will provide the ability to deorbit the space station and ensure that risk to populated areas is avoided. The single-award contract has a total potential value of $843 million, while the Vehicle launch service will be a future acquisition.

Since 1998, five space agencies – the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Roscosmos Space Corporation – have operated the ISS, each responsible for managing and controlling the hardware it provides. As a result, the safe deorbiting of the Space Station is the responsibility of all five space agencies.

While SpaceX will develop the deorbited spacecraft, NASA will take ownership of it after development and operate it throughout its mission. Along with the space station, NASA expects it to be destructively destroyed as part of the reentry process. The United States, Japan, Canada, and ESA participating countries have committed to operating the station through 2030. Likewise, Russia has committed to continuing station operations through at least 2028.

Ken Bowersox, NASA associate administrator for the Space Operations Mission Directorate, said of the selection: “Selecting a U.S. deorbiter for the ISS will help NASA and its international partners ensure a safe and responsible transition into low-Earth orbit at the end of station operations.” Bowersox also added: “The orbiting laboratory remains a model for science, exploration and partnerships in space for the benefit of all. This decision supports NASA’s plans for future commercial destinations and enables the continued use of near-Earth space.”

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