TGCC Chapter Meeting March 2015
"The deorbit of the International Space Station"
Dr. Jack Bacon of NASA’s ISS Systems Engineering and Integration Office chairs an international team of experts tasked with planning and hazard mitigations of the disposal of the ISS at its end of life. This massive undertaking is currently estimated to occur somewhere between 2024 and 2028, and could occur on short notice in certain contingencies. As with all prior spacecraft, ISS will be de-orbited in its entirety to a remote area of the ocean. However, the sheer mass, size, and structural sensitivity of the ISS—built in space to withstand only moderate loads—presents unique technical hurdles that make the ISS’ safe disposal an elaborate systems engineering task. Add to that the politics, finances, and space infrastructure implications of the effort, and you have a unique and important historic event.