On March 14th,NASA is planning to develop a new type of space tugboat designed to help with controlled falls after the International Space Station is retired in 2030.
Kathy Lueders, NASA's human spaceflight administrator,The space tug is estimated to cost just under $1 billion or so to buildThe plan is to first issue a request for proposals and then further optimize the project price.
The new spacecraft will complement existing derailment capabilities of partners on the International Space Station. Current plans to bring the ISS to a safe and controlled crash rely on the thrust generated by starting the engines of the Russian Progress cargo ship.
However, Lueders said it was important to develop backup methods after two Russian spacecraft docked with the ISS recently leaked coolant.
The cause of the leak, which is still under investigation, may have been caused by a micrometeoroid impact, and is presumed to be related to external problems during the launch.
For its part, Russia has said it wants to leave the ISS program as early as "sometime after 2024" to focus on building its own station in low-Earth orbit, which could affect NASA's development plans for a new space tug.
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