back to article NASA confirms International Space Station is to keep orbiting through 2030

While scientists celebrated the successful launch and ongoing deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA had another thing to bring cheer in the new year – the extension of the International Space Station (ISS) from 2025 through 2030. The announcement, through a NASA blog and US Vice President Kamala Harris on Twitter …

  1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Best wishes

    Good to see that the science will continue for a while longer. Just hoping the old thing will maintain integrity and remain air tight.

    De-commissioning may present a few issues as anything that size re-entering the atmosphere might well result in large chunks surviving to ground level. After all bits of Skylab were recovered after that fell to Earth.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Best wishes

      Should be ok, one progress cargo tug firing to reduce the lowest point of the orbit to about 25km above the south pacific will bring down the ISS nicely and I doubt if the fish will be bothered by chunks of ISS landing on them...

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Best wishes

      Skylab fell on solid ground because its re-entry was uncontrolled. Unless something catastrophic happens to the ISS, it will be safely lowered into a remote spot in the ocean such as the "spacecraft cemetery".

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Best wishes

      Airtightness isn't a major problem.

      mutant superfungal growths are a bigger issue. That's what doomed Mir

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Best wishes

        "mutant superfungal growths"

        Suddenly I find space travel far less enticing.

  2. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    where's the new one?

    2025 is only 3 years away, and is ANYBODY constructing a new space station yet? Yeah better kick the can down the road a bit in the mean time...

    Looks like the ISS must follow in the footsteps of Mir and the Space Shuttle, living WAY past its (original) project expiration date.

    (that is NOT necessarily a BAD thing as I see it)

    I suppose you could say the same about things like Mars rovers, too.

    1. Vulch

      Re: where's the new one?

      Axiom has modules under construction, the first is due to launch in 2024 and will initially dock with the ISS. Once they've launched their airlock module and added it they'll have a self contained station that can cut loose of the ISS and go its own way.

    2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      is ANYBODY constructing a new space station yet?

      China still has a pair of lab modules to send up and attach to Tiāngōng (I think that both missions are scheduled for later this year).

      1. msobkow Silver badge

        Re: is ANYBODY constructing a new space station yet?

        Yeah, but that isn't the western world, so a lot of readers don't count it. I figure space is a global enterprise, and China would indeed seem to be part of the globe. :)

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: where's the new one?

      "...is ANYBODY constructing a new space station yet?"

      Yes, actually. Several of them, despite Bigelo having gone titsup recently

      Getting things up there gets easier with Starship too

    4. davidp231

      Re: where's the new one?

      "Looks like the ISS must follow in the footsteps of Mir and the Space Shuttle, living WAY past its (original) project expiration date."

      Not forgetting the Voyager probes. They're still (sort of) doing their original job despite the distance.

  3. Potemkine! Silver badge

    What about changing the ageing parts instead of starting again from nil for a new station. ISS is modular, so that should be possible, shouldn't it?

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Doing that would probably be like in the grandfather's axe story, eventually it becomes a new ISS - not that I see any problem with that, though.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        It was more-or-less designed with this in mind from the outset and this is the philosophy of the Axiom buildout

    2. AdamT

      I think it is more modular in the sense that IKEA stuff is modular. i.e. it arrives in pieces (out of necessity) but probably isn't very easy to take apart and could suffer some damage if you tried.

      It's not quite that bad in practice as I think the Russians ditched one of their modules recently but I don't think it was a simple task.

  4. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Any manned trip to Mars is going to need a lot of radiation shielding,

    I wonder if old space station would be suitable,

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Any manned trip to Mars is going to need a lot of radiation shielding,

      The best radiation shielding is water.

      It's less suitable as micrometor shielding though (which is a bigger problem in LEO, as the magnetosphere takes care of most of the radiation issue)

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Any manned trip to Mars is going to need a lot of radiation shielding,

        "The best radiation shielding is water."

        Really? I recall hearing ages ago that Roman era lead was highly sought after as a radiation shield as it was pretty pure and the radioactive isotopes having half lives of around a couple of decades had decayed a great deal in the intervening millennia.*

        Of course the advantage is that you can drink water, (although the thieving gets who stole the lead flashing from my block of flats are unlikely to make it into space). And yes, I do realise that as lead is dense getting it into space would take a lot of effort.

        * https://webwiser.nlm.nih.gov/substance?substanceId=416&identifier=Lead,%20Radioactive&identifierType=name&menuItemId=44&catId=51

        1. Hero Protagonist

          Re: Any manned trip to Mars is going to need a lot of radiation shielding,

          As I recall, Roman lead is used specifically for shielding sensitive electronics where the radiation from ordinary lead would do as much damage as the external radiation that’s being shielded against. Overkill for shielding humans I think.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Any manned trip to Mars is going to need a lot of radiation shielding,

            Pre-1945 steel was used as shielding in low-level radiation counting set-ups. The Belfast carbon dating lab was lucky having a ship-yard just down the road to source second-hand steel plates. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-background_steel

  5. Dabooka

    Should buy time for a new one to be planned and built

    The private sector will be involved here, I for one support Drax to develop a suitable replacement

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Should buy time for a new one to be planned and built

      Woodchip powered?

      Drax

      1. AdamT

        Re: Should buy time for a new one to be planned and built

        I think they mean the Bond super-villain:

        Drax

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Re: Should buy time for a new one to be planned and built

          No, they obviously mean the obscure Doctor Who Character:

          Drax.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not all 20 ofd years old

    Wouldn't you use parts of it on the next station, like solar panels and fairly new robot arms? It's expensive to launch new parts.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It'll be tricky getting a removal van to move all their stuff to the new one.

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