NASA could urgently develop a spacecraft to deorbit the Space Station

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La Station spatiale internationale vue depuis un Crew Dragon de SpaceX (novembre 2021). © Nasa, SpaceX

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[EN VIDÉO] ISS: Until 2030, and then? The International Space Station will continue to receive astronauts from around the world for scientific missions until 2030. And to support the space conquest missions that are to take humans to the Moon and even to Mars. (in English) © Nasa Although relations between Washington and Moscow are abysmal, surprisingly those between the space agencies of the United States and Russia, regarding the International Space Station, are cordial. It is also one of the last links of civil cooperation between the two superpowers. As proof, in July, NASA and Roscosmos announced the resumption of service flights to the ISS with mixed crews. Specifically, two American astronauts will fly aboard a Soyuz vehicle on two separate missions, the first of which is scheduled for September, and two Russian cosmonauts will join the ISS aboard Crew Dragon from SpaceX in 2023, a first! That said, if the The Russian-Ukrainian conflict does not seem to call into question, for now, the technical cooperation between the two agencies, the United States must have an emergency plan to avoid a breakout scenario that could see the Russians abandon the Station and leave it as it is. But, let’s be objective, this is not the scenario that seems to be taking shape. Since Dmitry Rogozin was removed from his post, the new head of the Russian space agency, Yuri Borissov, has spoken much less vindictively and provocatively than his predecessor. He undoubtedly meant that Russia would withdraw from the ISS program after 2024, without specifying the date, but stressing that such withdrawal would be carried out “in accordance with the [ses] obligations”. It should be noted that the ISS statutes require all partners to give one year’s notice of their intention to leave the ISS program, that the United States wishes to acquire an operational capability to deorbit the station as soon as possible. You should know that NASA and its partners on the ISS evaluated different deorbit scenarios and came to the conclusion that three Russian Progress cargo ships were enough to “do the job” and safely deorbit the ISS. The US Dragon and Cygnus freighters can’t do that. so. They weren’t designed for that either. A moment considered to “pilot” the station, Northrop’s Cygnus freighter Grumman is only capable of reviving the station, which isn’t bad anymore. However, it could be used, with extended propulsion capabilities, as a backup to Progress. So over the summer, NASA will publish a request for information from industrialists and others es American startups to find a way to deorbit the space station without the help of Russian cargo ships. Specifically, NASA would like to have a space vehicle developed for this sole purpose. Ideally, this vehicle would arrive at the Station one year before its deorbit date, in an elliptical orbit of 145 x 200 kilometers to minimize the time the station has to rely on the various ships of load for attitude control. From this position, the vehicle would activate its propulsion system for the last time to lower the perigee to 50 kilometers, ensuring the “atmospheric capture” of the orbital complex that will precipitate it into the Earth’s atmosphere where it should be consumed .NASA on September 9. Interested in what you just read?
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