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Thread: International Space Station.

  1. #1
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    International Space Station.

    Not sure if this should be here,

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/internation...112250624.html


    Seems like a waste to me, why cant they put it in a museum or something, not dump it in the sea?

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    There's no remotely practical way to get it down. You'd basically have to reverse the assembly process, bringing pieces back on the now-extinct space shuttle.

    Better would be to keep it operational longer. I suspect that'll happen. Perhaps it could be boosted into a high enough orbit to be out of the way and become a museum itself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by elizabeth25 View Post
    Not sure if this should be here,
    I think Space Exploration is a better forum, so I've moved it from S&T. No problem, we live for these moments.

    And like Trebuchet said, I don't think the end-of-use date is a firm decision. But I do think both NASA and the Russian space program agree that once the ISS is longer being used, that it has to be deorbited.
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    I think 2025 is a more likely end date, unless Bigelow is seriously undercutting them...

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    Why does there have to be an end date to these kinds of things? Is it just normal wear and tear or technology becoming outdated? It seems like such a waste to build everything from scratch again and again. I think there should be a long term plan to build an orbital station that can be expanded indefinitely until it eventually becomes a city in space.

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    Once again I bleat ' cost ' as the reason it can not be brought down for a museum object..

    It can not be de-orbited without it breaking up and burning in re-entry. Almost a total destruction..

    Remember Mir and Skylab...

    If we still had the shuttle fleet it might have been possible to de construct and bring home the ISS.

    But it will have done all that it can. As a working space platform, it is a winner..

    It will only be decommissioned when its use is spent...

    The blueprints are available. If a replica was wanted to be constructed it could be..

    Once again, cost and a for what reason would you want for such ?

    On the subject of a replica.. I think it would be the easy option don't you ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by astromark View Post
    On the subject of a replica.. I think it would be the easy option don't you ?
    Honestly I think a Bigelow space station, or more than one will be in operation by the time the ISS reaches its end of life, there won't be a need to replace it as such.

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    A higher orbit would be more constructive. Certainly there's some things that can be reused somehow, after all the money that's been put into it. Yes, there's wear and tear in LEO, but it doesn't have to be a total loss.

    And the article doesn't even mention SpaceX's next mission to dock with the ISS.

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    What this means is that funding for ISS is committed until 2020. If the partners decide to fund it past 2020, if will be kept in orbit; if not, it has to be deorbited.

    I guess a real decision on this should be expected around 2015. This is because deorbiting would require constructing a special deorbit vehicle, which would have to be budgeted for separately, and several years in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wally View Post
    Why does there have to be an end date to these kinds of things? Is it just normal wear and tear or technology becoming outdated? It seems like such a waste to build everything from scratch again and again. I think there should be a long term plan to build an orbital station that can be expanded indefinitely until it eventually becomes a city in space.
    Both. Try to read up a little about Mir and what it was like before it was abandoned. Granted, much of ISS is much newer technology and design, but it should still give you an idea of what can happen to orbital hardware.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhaedas View Post
    A higher orbit would be more constructive. Certainly there's some things that can be reused somehow, after all the money that's been put into it. Yes, there's wear and tear in LEO, but it doesn't have to be a total loss.
    Can you expand on this comment? It's been my understanding all along that LEO causes less wear and tear because the amount of orbital debris is less.
    Also; What can be done in a higher orbit that can't be done in a LEO. (or first: how high of an orbit?)

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    I think the idea is that we move ISS up to prevent orbital decay. Then it could sit in a higher orbit indefinitely until we figure out how to reuse it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kamaz View Post
    I think the idea is that we move ISS up to prevent orbital decay. Then it could sit in a higher orbit indefinitely until we figure out how to reuse it.
    I guess the comment can be read that way, but there's still the wear and tear aspect left me wondering.

    Anyway. I like the idea of raising the orbit as a means of preserving it for possible later use, but that comes with issues too, like:
    Are there part of it that would be useless (as thier own function) if left unoperated, or damaged without environment (like heat stresses)?
    Are there any structural types of issues that would be of concerned if not monitored or inspected on occasion?
    Is there an orbit suitable for "parking".
    I'm sure there's others.

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    Must we be thinking about it's death already? It's glorious. Let us enjoy its life.

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    Well, for one thing it has a huge (110kW) power plant. Even if it becomes uninhabitable, I believe it could be used for housing some energy-hungry experiments.

    Anyway. Here is an article about how NASA wants to deorbit it: http://www.space.com/9643-tation-dis...-revealed.html

    9 tons of propellant. Ouch.

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    If fabrication technology improves it could be used as a source of raw materials, but that is an if of Brobdingnagian proportions. Boosting it to a higher orbit makes it a huge potential source of future space junk and will also require a significant amount of fuel. (Although this boosting could be done with some sort of ion drive to save on costs. Deorbiting could also be done with an ion drive, but for reasons of precision and safety I think the big boom of chemical rockets might be required for the last stage of the deorbit.)

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    If the ISS could be boosted to 1000 kilometers circular orbit, how long before re-entry with no further boosts? 100 years? The crew radiation exposure doubles? so perhaps no crew, even if the Russian supply craft are capable of crew rotation, and supply at 1000 kilometers altitude. Admittedly few of the systems could be restarted quickly after ten years in moth balls. By 2021 human access to the ISS at an altitude of 950 kilometers may be easy. Can powered tethers raise the ISS one kilometer per month? Neil

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    NASA says 800 km takes decades to fall down, while 1,000+ km plus takes a century or more. 1,000 km high is space junk city:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spacedebris_small.png

    The ISS at that altitude might survive only slightly longer than the Hindenburg parked over Liberty City. And then that general area might become unusable as the space junk from the ISS made more space junk. Actually, this process might already be underway with satellites and junk already there.
    Last edited by Ronald Brak; 2011-Jul-31 at 01:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    I guess the comment can be read that way, but there's still the wear and tear aspect left me wondering.

    Anyway. I like the idea of raising the orbit as a means of preserving it for possible later use, but that comes with issues too, like:
    Are there part of it that would be useless (as thier own function) if left unoperated, or damaged without environment (like heat stresses)?
    Are there any structural types of issues that would be of concerned if not monitored or inspected on occasion?
    Is there an orbit suitable for "parking".
    I'm sure there's others.
    Wear and tear was referring to being exposed to the environment of LEO, specifically the atmospheric drag. I thought I had read before that there was some damage to the surfaces because of this exposure. But the other points made are valid too. I don't think there's really a "safe" place in orbit, just different issues and risks.

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    Well then, the only choice is clear: L4.

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