So let me understand this. First, we spend billions of dollars building the International Space Station (ISS). Then Moscow decides it will unceremoniously fly the ISS into the Pacific Ocean.
Global pressure may have forced the Russians to reconsider the timing of their controversial plan, but the Kremlin insists it will ultimately sink the ISS – even if its mission is extended beyond 2020.
“The partners have agreed to continue the ISS operation until 2020. The partners will also approve an extended period of the ISS,” Russian Space Agency spokesperson Anna Vedishcheva told Interfax-AVN.
“[Still], the only way to dispose of the station is to sink it… to avoid the appearance of a large amount of space debris in orbit.”
As expected, a number of American politicians, armchair space buffs and NASA officials have expressed outrage over the proposed burial at sea. Some, like one congressional rep, even went so far as to utterly dismiss the eventual sinking of the ISS.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Russia come out with a statement that seems to be coming out of their own stovepipes,” the rep told FoxNews. ”I would give it no credence at all – [simply because] NASA would have advised us ahead of time if there were any agreement along those lines.”
The International Space Station – which spans an area the size of an American football field – has been continuously inhabited for nearly 11 years. It has also traveled over 1.5 billion miles, or the equivalent of 8 round trips to the Sun, over the course of 57,000 orbits around the Earth.
Now, I personally hope the ISS isn’t the latest casualty in the seemingly mad rush to roll back 30 years of manned space exploration in our solar system. It really does make one wonder why certain countries, like the U.S., are so eager to imprison once-proud space shuttles in museums like ancient artifacts or relics.
Sure, NASA prattles on incessantly, claiming it will send astronauts to explore an asteroid and the surface of Mars at some point in the future, but does anyone really believe such propaganda?
There is simply no reason to end the current space program while rebooting its successor. The two could have existed in perfect harmony – if science and technology were a priority in the U.S. as it once was, long ago.