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NASA Says ISS Coming Down in 2016

A Washington Post article is reporting that NASA plans to close shop on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015, and dump the entire station into the Pacific Ocean in 2016. Even more, the space station is only now nearing completion, costing taxpayers and "government partners" a whopping $100 billion to construct thus far. Orbiting just 220 miles above the earth, the space station has serves as a symbol of humanity's desire to reach beyond the atmosphere, to eventually explore and conquer its rugged neighbors. Now NASA wants to bring that icon down in a huge fiery ball.

According to Michael T. Suffrendini, the NASA space station program manager, NASA is steadfast in its plans to de-orbit the space station, throwing away years of progress and taxpayer money. "In the first quarter of 2016, we'll prep and de-orbit the spacecraft," said Suffredini.

So why bring it down? Apparently, there's a lack of funds to keep the station alive. After all, the metallic beast has already cost $100 billion. NASA also plans to retire the decrepit Space Shuttle fleet by the end of 2010, forcing each astronaut to hitch a $51 million ride skyward with the Russian Soyuz spacecraft; the American-made replacement won't be available for flight until 2014.

However, many disagree with NASA's plans for the ISS, especially when considering the investment. "If we've spent a hundred billion dollars, I don't think we want to shut it down in 2015," said Senator Bill Nelson in a statement to the Washington Post.  "My opinion is it would be a travesty to de-orbit this thing. If we get rid of this darned thing in 2015, we're going to cede our leadership in human exploration."

Although NASA is not officially lobbying to extend the ISS' mission, it is trying to determine what resources will be needed to extend its lifespan well into the 2020s. But for now, there's no long term funding for the space station beyond 2015. The last components are expected to be installed by the end of next year.

  • newbie_mcnoob
    We can spend how many hundreds of billions of dollars on the Middle East, but we can't spend anything on the space program?
    Nice to know where our priorities are.

    If they found oil on Mars we would have a colony there in a heartbeat.
  • jokemeister
    NASA seem to be very good at burning up lots of money.
  • B-Unit
    This is, by far, the dumbest thing Ive heard this year.

    $100 billion to get it up and working and were gonna just drop it in the ocean? WTF!?!? Get the EU and Japan to help foot the maintenance bill if need be, but you cant kill this thing so quick.
  • If this means that the US is giving up on weaponizing space, it might not be so bad... Paying the Russians to take us to space is a rather large slice of humble pie to swallow....
  • grieve
    Sell it to the Chinese or better yet Ebay it!

    Seriously though... I am sure some investors will step up. Who knows maybe the ISS will sport a Walmart flag or a Castrol motor oil decal haha.

    Very sad to let it go.
  • 10tacle
    "If they found oil on Mars we would have a colony there in a heartbeat"

    We have oil right here on US soil and can't drill for it due to environmentalism. We have actually *had* the capability to sustain teh majority of our oil/energy needs for decades, but every time someone brought up that we need to drill our for own resources (like Russia does), it gets shot down due to politicians saying "well it will take over a decade to start seeing results, so what's the point?" Imagine if we had actually started the process back in 1994 when Clinton shot down a proposal where we would be today. Got news for ya on another front: the current crop of politicians wanting to kill coal isn't going to help our energy needs either. We can't drill, we can't build nuclear plants (like France), and yet people continue whine about us being dependent on foreign oil. Amazingly mindless.
  • zachary k
    wtf? i though the iss was going to be built up until it becomes the death star? we spend billions on the war, trillions to rebuild the economy, and millions to bail out companies that just use the money to have gold toilets and we don't have enough to spend on space? i guess we are doomed to stay on earth forever until we get pwned in the face by one of the many things discovery channel keeps on talking about.
  • Kithzaru
  • DejaVuBoy
    It's cool. We'll be out of this financial mess by 2014, and this will be back on the menu.
  • mantismn
    Aside from the monumental waste of money killing the ISS is, how bout the blatant environmental impact. For some reason I have a feeling not everything inside the ISS is "eco-friendly" and biodegradable.

    Good idea NASA, lets spend billions of dollars just to dump it in the ocean. If that had been their original proposal, I think a lot of people would've told them to get bent.