Friday, 30 September 2011

What's next for the ISS

It's a challenging time for the International Space Station (ISS). The single most expensive engineering project in human history and one of the most complex pieces of machinery ever assembled, the future of the ISS remains uncertain after theending of the Space Shuttle program and the grounding of Russia's Soyuz fleet following an accident last month. While the recently announced resumption of manned Soyuz flights means the danger of the station being evacuated and mothballed has receded ... it hasn’t ended. Read More

1 comment:

eon said...


Excellent article.

The major problem I see is that the ISS config, combined with its LEO altitude, is as you say an open invitation to an uncontrolled deorbit.

This once again strongly indicates that Dr. von Braun was right when he called for a "wheel-type" station in a 1,075 mile (1750 km) orbit. The design had lower drag, and at that altitude atmosphere is attenuated very close to zero, in "mean free path" terms.

As it is, we may have about 500 tons of mass sitting down (like the proverbial elephant in the barroom) anywhere it wants to.