NASA plans to spend about $1 billion to de-orbit the International Space Station as the orbiting laboratory expires in the 2030s, reports The Register.
A report released this week shows that NASA will continue to support projects on the ISS, but is also considering building a new space lab and abandoning the current model.
Officials have asked the White House for $228 million to build commercial space stations with U.S. aerospace partners, as well as $180 million to create a module to disassemble the ISS, remove it from orbit and dispose of its components over the Earth’s oceans.
Kathy Lueders, NASA’s human spaceflight chief, explained that the costs for the whole project were estimated to be “a little short of about $1 billion.”.
NASA hopes to keep costs down by encouraging private aerospace operators to compete for contracts or requests for proposals (RFPs) to build the module that will lift the ISS out of orbit.
The ISS consists of several different modules that stretch 109 meters. Other agencies involved in the spacecraft’s operations, such as Roscosmos, will also be responsible for the safe disposal of their parts. NASA has previously stated that it will work together with Roscosmos to launch the ISS into orbit using the Progress cargo spacecraft.
The largest part of the budget requested by NASA will be directed to the flagship mission Artemis. The space agency believes it needs $8.1 billion to continue work on sending the first woman and then a man to the Moon. People have not set foot on the moon for more than half a century. NASA believes that the research and creation of infrastructure for human life on the Moon is a vital step on the way to being able to venture further out into the Solar System.