Friday, July 29, 2011

ISS Alive and Well

An Associated Press article published July 28 by Florida Today was interpreted by some as meaning that Russia intends to destroy the International Space Station in 2020.

Alan Boyle at MSNBC's Cosmic Log dug a little deeper, got the interview transcript, and found that Roscosmos deputy director Vitaly Davydov "was simply stating current policy when he told TV interviewers that the station would be in use until 2020 or so, and that it would have to be taken out of orbit when it's obsolete."

The interview from "Good Morning Russia" ("Utro Rossii") caused a stir when a Russian-language transcript turned up on the space agency's website, but don't panic: If anything, the International Space Station will be in operation well after 2020. Russia, NASA and the other partners in the 16-nation venture are looking into extending the station's lifetime to 2028 — that is, if they can verify that its components will still be in working order that far into the future.

By 2028, still more space stations will be in orbit — almost certainly including the space bases currently being planned for launch as early as 2015 by private companies such as Bigelow Aerospace.

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