Society for Popular Astronomy

ISS to be de-orbited and sunk
Page 1 of 1

Author:  Davej [ Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:49 am ]
Post subject:  ISS to be de-orbited and sunk

I've read many reports such as this one over the last couple of months.
They are saying that it will have completed it's lifespan sometime after 2020 and so will be destroyed rather than becoming a massive piece of space junk.
After all the outcry about the massive expense involved in building the ISS (not to mention the more important cost of human lives) it is now going to be discarded which is more waste. If, as the reports suggest, there are 'possibilities' of building another station, what's the point ?

All the best

Author:  Tim Chamberlain [ Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hello Dave,

I don't pretend to know anything about the politics, funding, or running of the ISS, but it seems to me that for good or bad the popular press have kind of latched onto the ISS lately. There was a piece on the the ISS on the BBC News website this week too. It all seems a bit duplicitous though, on the one hand the Media bash the US for discontinuing the shuttle program and therefore call the ISS a floating white elephant in an age of austerity, and then go on to worry over the fact that a Russian supply ship goes wrong during launch - it's such a catalogue of journalistic cliches ... which, sadly, go a long way towards informing public opinion.

I can only assume that the ISS would have to be de-orbited and sunk because it was uneconomical to patch up / upgrade / repair what was already up there?? ... But surely that would be one of the more sensible experiments in spaceflight - how to maintain hardware and keep it sustainably viable?


Author:  David Frydman [ Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

It is probable the fatigue life is reached by 2020. After that it is not deemed safe for it to continue to be inhabited.
All structures have a limited lifetime, even if it might be centuries or longer.
But in the harsh environment of space, 2020 seems reasonable.
I never did see an estimate of Prof. O'Neill's space cities housing 100,000 people.
That would have been a consideration, but in retrospect those cities were never a realistic possibility.
My concern was there would be civil war or war between the cities if they ever existed and in the unforgiving space environment it seems disaster would never be far away.
I would have thought terraforming planets more sensible, but even here we cannot terraform or own planet, Earth.
Instead we just mess it up.
Humans have a future, but it will always be messy.
Regards, David

Author:  David Frydman [ Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:03 am ]
Post subject: 

For those interested see Wikepedia for Gerard K O'Neill and his book The High Frontier about 1976 which was still in print in 2008.
He began to be interested in Space colonisation in 1969 and built a mass driver which was the basis of launching enormous amounts of material from the moon to construct Space cities.
I was a supporter, but looking back the whole scheme now looks completely over the top, although it was not at the time of the Moon landings.

regards, David

Author:  brian livesey [ Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:15 am ]
Post subject: 

It's a pity that you feel so cynical about humanity, David. Some of us think our species has a fabulous future. All in good time .. . :D

Author:  Mogget [ Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:19 am ]
Post subject: 

The ISS is looking more and more like a colossal waste of money to me. It took ages to build it, and it could be argued that it is only there because NASA needed an excuse to keep the Shuttle fleet operational. I personally feel that those hundreds of billions of dollars could have been put to better use.

Author:  brian livesey [ Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

The greatest tragedy was that two Shuttle crews lost their lives constructing the ISS.
Glamorous as manned spaceflight might seem to be to some people, I personally find it unnerving. The enormous pressures and temperatures involved in getting into space, leave very little margin for error.
There's a multitude of other things that can go wrong too. Rocketry hasn't progressed much since the V2, in the sense that to-day's rockets are really only stretched versions of the V2.

Author:  David Frydman [ Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:52 pm ]
Post subject: 

On the other hand the technology filters down to airtravel and other things.
This probably results in safer air travel and fewer civilian casualties.
Whether we should all be flying around wasting resources is another question, but holidaymakers would be very peeved not to have their two weeks on a Sun drenched beach soaking up the U.V.
Regards, David

Author:  stella [ Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:22 pm ]
Post subject: 

"The greatest tragedy was that two Shuttle crews lost their lives constructing the ISS."

This is utter rubbish.

Challenger was lost in 1986, twelve years before the I.S.S. began construction.

Columbia was lost in February 2003, having completed a SCIENCE mission,
in an orbit of inclination 39°. I.S.S. is in a 51°.6 orbit.

Author:  brian livesey [ Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

As you said Stella, I got that one wrong! :roll: However, it does bring home the hazards of manned spaceflight.

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group