NASA revealed plans to euthanize the International Space Station by "de-orbiting" it to fall into the Pacific Ocean in January 2031. By then, the ISS will have maintained a continuous human presence in space for three decades. According to NASA, future low-Earth orbit destinations will be developed and operated by the private sector. The good ol' ISS will splash down in the South Pacific Oceanic Uninhabited Area, aka "Point Nemo," about 2,688 kilometers away from land. From CNN:
Named after the submarine sailor in Jules Verne's novel "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea," Point Nemo is the point in the ocean that is farthest from land and has been a watery grave for many other spacecraft.
The area is approximately 3,000 miles off of New Zealand's eastern coast and 2,000 miles north of Antarctica and it's estimated that space-faring nations such as the US, Russia, Japan and European countries have sunk more than 263 pieces of space debris there since 1971.
The report said the ISS would perform thrusting maneuvers that would ensure "safe atmospheric entry."
The ISS will accomplish the de-orbit maneuvers by using the propulsion capabilities of the ISS and its
visiting vehicles. The overall de-orbit would require extra visiting vehicles beyond the regular cadence of
traffic to the ISS. Not all visiting vehicles can be used to assist in the de-orbit. NASA and its partners
have evaluated varying quantities of Russian Progress spacecraft and determined that three can
accomplish the de-orbit. Additionally, Northrop Grumman has been expanding the propulsion
capabilities of its Cygnus spacecraft, and NASA has been evaluating whether Cygnus could also be part
of the vehicle capability needed to the de-orbit the ISS.
We'll definitely need a bigger boat.