NASA has changed the contract and changed the dates for its procurement announcement, which includes a vehicle to maneuver the International Space Station (ISS).
A quarter of a century ago, when construction began, the agency should have carefully considered and planned how disposal would occur. put out Request for proposals for TRBIT vehicle in September 2023.
A few months earlier in March, Kathy Lueders, then NASA’s chief of human spaceflight — now SpaceX’s Starbase general manager — calculated the cost of deorbiting the ISS and dispersing what remains for re-entry over Earth’s oceans. . NASA officials made a budget request of $180 million and began building a block to surround the complex.
The September 2023 procurement notice sought proposals from industry by November 17, 2023. It was extended over the following weeks. Recent change, now on February 12, 2024. Desired and required delivery and release dates are also changed. The expected date of delivery is August 1, 2028, with a launch date of December 1, 2028. Required delivery will commence on May 1, 2029, September 1, 2029.
NASA quietly updated its original blog to note that it expects to make a contract award in late May or early June 2024.
The company has also included the option of both development and production of the vehicle under a cost-plus contract. While the agency did not provide a reason for the change, it said in its cover letter: „This amendment increases value to the government by allowing offerors flexibility in proposing contract types.”
The question of what to do with the ISS at the end of its life is a vexing one. A plan called for moving the complex out of orbit in a controlled manner using the Roscosmos Progress spacecraft. Undoubtedly, avoiding over-injection of its partners, NASA said Current plans „indicate that a new spacecraft solution will provide more robust capabilities for responsible deorbit.”
However, the new dates align well with when the ISS is currently expected to reach the end of its lifespan. Russia is committed to contributing until at least 2028, and other international space agencies, including ESA and NASA, hope to continue until 2030.
So, the US Deorbit Vehicle (USDV) will arrive by the end of 2029. ®
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