the Space StationThe Space-Station. NASA

NASA selects SpaceX to deorbit the Space Station and destroy it safely during re-entry, just after 2030.

NASA has announced that SpaceX will develop and deliver the U.S. Deorbit Vehicle to safely destroy the International Space Station to avoid risks to populated areas.

“It is crucial to prepare for the safe and responsible deorbit of the International Space Station in a controlled manner after the end of its operational life in 2030.”

Once SpaceX develops the deorbit spacecraft, NASA will take ownership and operate it during its mission. The deorbit vehicle and the space station will break apart destructively during re-entry.

“Selecting a U.S. Deorbit Vehicle for the International Space Station will help NASA and its international partners ensure a safe and responsible transition in low Earth orbit at the end of station operations. This decision also supports NASA’s plans for future commercial destinations and allows for the continued use of space near Earth,” said Ken Bowersox, associate administrator for Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The orbital laboratory remains a blueprint for science, exploration, and partnerships in space for the benefit of all.”

Since 1998, the International Space Station has been managed by five space agencies: the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), NASA, and Roscosmos. Each agency manages and controls the hardware it provides, with the station designed to be interdependent and reliant on contributions from all partners. The United States, Japan, Canada, and ESA countries will operate the station through 2030, while Russia will continue operations at least through 2028. Ensuring the safe deorbit of the station is a shared responsibility of all five agencies.

The contract with SpaceX is worth up to $843 million. The launch service for the U.S. Deorbit Vehicle will be procured separately in the future.

source NASA