A Russian space official said Wednesday that once the mammoth International Space Station is no longer needed it will be sent into the Pacific Ocean.
It’s a plan that’s long been in the works and is a step to avoid the station becoming dangerous space junk. It was supposed to plunge into the ocean as early as 2015. The U.S. recently extended its life until at least 2020, and there’s been talk of keeping it going even longer.
Vitaly Davydov, deputy head of the Russian space agency, said the orbiting outpost will be destroyed in a controlled descent to Earth “so that there is no space junk left behind.”
The International Space Station is the biggest orbiting outpost ever built and can sometimes be seen from the Earth with the naked eye. It’s now big enough for six residents.
It now consists of more than a dozen modules built by the U.S., Russia, Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency.