Elon Musk’s SpaceX Wins $843M NASA Contract to Bring Down the International Space Station


NASA has handed Elon Musk’s SpaceX an $843 million contract to make a vehicle that will bring the International Space Station out of orbit in a few years’ time when the trailblazing laboratory is retired.

The space administration on Wednesday announced that the billionaire’s company has been chosen to “develop and deliver the U.S. Deorbit Vehicle,” the spacecraft which will guide the ISS on its fiery journey through the Earth’s atmosphere.

The SpaceX vehicle will “provide the capability to deorbit the space station and ensure avoidance of risk to populated areas,” NASA said. The government agency, which will oversee the deorbiting mission when it takes place, has previously said it expects the station to break up during the intense heat of atmospheric re-entry—which will also likely vaporize most of the station’s hardware—while some denser or heat-resistant components will survive and splash down into an unpopulated area of the ocean.

The ISS, which has been operated by space agencies in the U.S., Canada, Russia, Japan, and Europe since 1998, is expected to reach the end of its operational life in 2030. All of the agencies have committed to continue operating the station until the end of the decade except for Russia, which is committed until 2028. NASA did not disclose exactly when the deorbiting will take place.

“The orbital laboratory remains a blueprint for science, exploration, and partnerships in space for the benefit of all,” said Ken Bowersox, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations mission directorate.

The news comes as the inaugural crew of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft remain aboard the station. The two astronauts were originally scheduled to spend around eight days at the ISS after blasting off on June 5, but mechanical issues with Starliner have seen their return date repeatedly delayed.

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

Share your love

Leave a Reply