NASA looks for “space tug” ideas to ferry space station back to Earth


NASA explores 'space tug' idea to ferry space station back to Earth

NASA studies options to safely deorbit the space station

NASA is asking US companies to design a $1 billion space tug to ferry the International Space Station back to Earth. According to NASAThe station will be deorbited in a controlled manner to ensure avoidance of populated areas on Earth. The station’s secure orbit is the shared responsibility of five space agencies – including NASA, CSA (Canadian Space Agency), (ESA) European Space Agency, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and the state space corporation Roscosmos. Operating it since 1998.

The space agency has studied options for safely deorbiting the space station, including the option of using three Rosokomos Progress spacecraft at the end of station operations. These efforts indicated that a new or modified spacecraft was needed to provide more robust capabilities for deorbit. NASA is engaged with U.S. industry and is moving forward on plans to purchase a spacecraft (the U.S. Deorbit Vehicle) that will perform the final, safe, deorbit maneuver of the space station, NASA said in a release.

NASA said, “The USDV is focused on the final deorbit activity. It will be a new spacecraft design or modification to an existing spacecraft that must be functional on its first flight and have sufficient redundancy and anomaly recovery capability to sustain critical deorbit burns. Will happen.”

According to ABC NewsThe call for designs was launched on 20 September, with proposals to be submitted before 17 November.

Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations, said at a press conference in March that the vehicle’s cost was estimated to be “about a little under $1 billion”.

USDV proposals are due on November 17th, space.com informed of. The International Space Station program has maintained a continuous human presence at the Microgravity Laboratory for more than 22 years, with assembly missions beginning in 1998. Throughout the years, NASA and its international partners have worked together to operate, maintain, and upgrade parts of the station. ,

NASA examined several options for decommissioning the International Space Station, including separation and return to Earth, boost to a higher orbit, natural orbital decay with random re-entry and a remote ocean field, the space agency said. Involves controlled targeted re-entry. In a release.

The space agency explained how it plans to deorbit the ISS. It states that the primary objective during deorbit operations of the space station is the responsible re-entry of the space station structure into an unpopulated area in the ocean. The approach chosen for safe decommissioning is a combination of natural orbital decay, intentionally reducing the station’s altitude using present propellant elements, and then execution of the re-entry maneuver for final targeting and controlling the debris footprint. This final maneuver is expected to require a new or modified spacecraft using large amounts of propellant.

The space station is the largest single structure ever built in space.

NASA has entered into a contract for commercial modules attached to the space station docking port, which are planned to be separated later, and has awarded three Space Act agreements for the design of free-flying commercial space stations.


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