What will happen next?

In 2024, the partnership between NASA and 19 countries around the International Space Station may end. The construction of the International Space Station, which replaced it from the MIR station, spanned between 1998 and 2011 – although it was gradually active during this period. The International Space Station is the source of countless discoveries in microgravity. On a par exemple pu explorer les effets de l’absence de gravité terrestre sur le corps humain, découvert de nouvelles manières de former des flammes, commenting faire pousser des plantes dans l’espace, et de nombreusesà technologies qui nous jour aideront on the moon.

NASA and the European Space Agency have already announced their support for extending the station until 2030. But the US Congress is currently refusing to fund the project beyond 2024. Other parties such as Russia could also disengage and oppose the life extension of the ISS. So what will happen after the terminal’s lifespan ends in such a scenario? Space stations must continue to orbit — especially thanks to China and private actors.

The risk of shutting down the International Space Station in 2024 is very real

China has already launched The first module of its future Tiangong space station. The country should be very active in space in the coming years. In particular, it is a matter of partnering with Russia to build a permanent base on the Moon. But China will not be alone. In the United States, private companies are also ready to launch an Earth orbit attack. Axiom Space, for example, would like to add modules to the existing International Space Station to nearly double its compact size.

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In such a scenario, we imagine that the International Space Station has become wholly or partly private. It can be leased to private entities that will extend its life indefinitely. Or at least as far as possible. In fact, statistically speaking, a catastrophic event such as a collision with space debris is likely to lead to the abrupt end of the current station. The Sierra Nevada Corporation is also developing inflatable units that will one day be assembled in low orbit to create the first private space station that is 100% independent of the International Space Station.

behind – on the other side The United States returns to the moon as part of the Artemis . program. The mission aims to build a permanent base on the Moon. And if it is not a matter of an orbital station around the satellite, it is not impossible that it will become a reality one day or more close. Of course, whatever projects are coming up, the ISS could end up out of service at the end of 2024. In such a case, countries that are currently part of the mission might have to organize the controlled re-entry of the station. in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

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Which would be an event in itself: such a large man-made object was not destroyed in the atmosphere. The International Space Station is already more than 100 meters long, and weighs more than 420 tons, which is equivalent to the weight of about four blue whales. Much more than 31 meters and 129.7 tons from the MIR station that suffered the same fate on April 23, 1996.

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