International Space Station to be decommissioned in 2020?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by C.E. Evans, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Nine more years is all the ISS has left according to this:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/126296673.html
    My local morning TV news show is reporting the same thing.
     
  2. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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    Yeah, that date corresponds with the one I've read last Saturday in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
     
  3. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    It was originally going to come down in 2015-16, so getting extended to 2020 is a good thing, I think. Also indicative of the fact that there is no replacement ready.
     
  4. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What do you mean by replacement? Replacement of what?

    I think it's sad that the station will be deorbited and destroyed. The decommissioning is inevitable, but keeping it as a symbol of the first days of space exploration would have been more than wonderful. Unfortunately, you can't land it and you can't send it to a higher orbit without an incredible amount of resources, so that simply won't happen.

    I'm still secretly hoping that someone will pay for the attachment of a few thrusters, and will slowly raise it to a orbit that doesn't decay so fast. Non-functioning, but physically intact.
     
  5. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    "Replacement" as in "another space station," assuming we want to keep building such things in orbit.
     
  6. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They just finished building it! Why not just keep it around years and years?
     
  7. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It costs money for supplies and fuel to keep it. Also there's the problem that the modules of the space station do not last forever, parts of them are expected to fail at some point, and there's nobody to repair them. Operating in space is very tricky, and a lot can go wrong, so presumably keeping it in use for too long can be risky, though do not quote me on that.
     
  8. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    See the problems MIR had in it's later years.
     
  9. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Quite frankly, I think the ISS was a monumental waste of money and resources. We could have built 400 Voyagers for the price of that station.
     
  10. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    ...And be half as proud, to be sure.

    Hugely expensive, over budget, and well behind schedule (remember when it was supposed to take 5-6 years, like they said at the first launch in '98?). But it makes a lot of people proud, and when it streaks overhead on a summer night (as it often will if you know when to look), it inspires. Can't put a price tag on that.

    Unfortunately, it's probably the LAST space station we'll ever have real romantic thoughts about. By 2020 (IMO it'll be closer to 2025 - they'll figure out a way to extend it safely) the Chinese will have at least one "permanent" station like Mir (after a couple Salyut-styled entries) that international crews will be visiting, and I wouldn't rule out some US-led international cooperation by that point.

    And if we're lucky, some private concerns will have something on the go at a fraction of the ISS size and price, supplied by technology that SpaceX is pioneering and the Russians will be able to help along (with an occasional visit by Virgin). By then, space stations will be relatively routine, and people can have romantic thoughts about the moon and Mars without worrying as much about a single $150B station.

    Here's hoping...

    Mark
     
  11. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Seeing the ISS does not make me proud. Seeing photographs of alien objects in the solar system, galaxy and universe makes me proud.
     
  12. Dac

    Dac Commodore Commodore

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    Bigelow Aerospace want to live up to their name with some big plans....they have concepts for several space stations, which they hope to build in phases starting within the next 5 years. Thing is, they're planning on using inflatable modules which have already been tested in orbit, so you can get a much larger habitable space with a much smaller payload.
     
  13. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The fact that people have found a way to live for long periods of time in a place where no living thing can survive doesn't make you proud? I look back at the times where a harsh winter was enough to make you worry for survival, and then I look at the station, and hell yeah, I am proud.

    Constant human presence in such inhospitable and deadly environment is amazing, and the experience gained there helps us to do the next step.

    Photographs of alien objects done by robots would do little to bring you close to a self-sustaining off-world colony. Not that the station has done a lot, but it has done something.
     
  14. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You're missing my point. Yes, any habitable settlement in space or on an extraterrestrial world would be a fantastic acheivement for humanity. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the difference between the funds for unmanned solar system exploration by several hundred probes (especially in an effort to prepare for the possible settlements that you describe), versus the money it actually cost for the ISS. That's what I'm not proud of, not the ISS itself. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

    I'm actually looking forward to both Bigelow's and the Chinese station attempts.
     
  15. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    I think extending its original lifespan by 5 years is pretty impressive. It means a lot more astronauts will get some experience under their belt than would have happened otherwise.
     
  16. Saquist

    Saquist Commodore

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    NASA makes me sick...
    Billions down the drain ...
     
  17. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    Of course NASA could have done something much more worthwhile with a few bucks, a handful of smash, a button and a bit of string.
     
  18. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Commodore

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    alternate uses outside orbit

    the VASIMR engine a a 200-kilowatt plasma ion plasma rocket will be tested on the ISS.
    October 2013 date set from the thread : ion plasma rocket being developed - VASIMR

    The International Space Station orbits in the Thermosphere, between 320 and 380 km (200 and 240 mi).
    The outermost layer of Earth's atmosphere extends from the exobase upward to 10,000km
    Now why can't this VASIMR engine move the ISS to the edge of the exosphere and just beyond? It can be a total failsafe backup lifeboat if there is some major catastrophe where astronauts cannot land safely on Earth and must need a safety area lifeboat they can attach to returning from a trip beyond Earth's orbit.
    A large sunshade can be attached to one side of most of the modules similar to Skylab before 2020 when they abandon human habitation and full power aboard the ISS. Perhaps there can be some standby power module for remote powerup.

    Alternately why not move the ISS outside the exosphere to dead space and then Why not make a centrifugal space-station?
    or possibly towing it to some high-altitude orbit Space Station around the Moon ? that could also be used as a lifeboat for any future missions to the moon by any countries.
     
  19. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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    Re: alternate uses outside orbit

    Because getting massacred by rampant Necromorphs generally isn't a good thing.
     
  20. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Re: alternate uses outside orbit

    This simple answer to your questions? The ISS is too heavy to do those things. It would cost tons of money.