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NASA says International Space Station will retire, then crash into the Pacific Ocean in 2031

NASA says International Space Station will retire, then crash into the Pacific Ocean in 2031

International Space Station

After three decades, a private sector will be captivating over operations in future space travel and NASA will continue to support the transition. “The private sector is technically and financially capable of developing and operating commercial low-Earth orbit destinations, with NASA’s assistance.

We look forward to sharing our lessons learned and operations experience with the private sector to help them develop safe, reliable, and cost-effective destinations in space,” Phil McAlister, director of commercial space at NASA Headquarters, said in the release.

The postponement of operations at the space station until 2030 was backed by the Biden government and the station is “busier than ever” directing try-outs for government agencies and progressing technologies to send the first woman and first person of color to the moon, and the first humans to Mars.

The space station first launched in November 1998 and has orbited the Earth over 100,000 times. In October 2026, the spacecraft will begin its journey back toward Earth and crash at Point Nemo in January 2031, according to the conversion report attached to the release.  A goal outlined in the conversion report is to engage a diverse group of students to create a future diverse space workforce.

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s scientists, engineers, and researchers,” NASA said. “It is thus crucial to our nation and NASA’s efforts to maintain the interest and curiosity of today’s students so they continue to be inspired by and participate in the wide scope of space exploration roles.”

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