Plan to Crash $100B Space Station Draws Fire

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2009 11:05 AM CDT
The International Space Station is seen in this photo taken from the space shuttle Discovery.   (AP Photo/NASA)
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(Newser) – It’s the largest spacecraft mankind has ever built, it’s cost the taxpayers and US allies $100 billion, and in a few years, NASA intends to crash the International Space Station into the Pacific Ocean, letting it burn up in the atmosphere en route. The station is nearly complete, after more than a decade of construction, but there’s no funding for it after 2015, the Washington Post reports.

The "controlled reentry" scheme has sparked debate about whether NASA should go ahead with the plan. “It would be a travesty to de-orbit this thing,” says the space station’s program manager. “We’re going to cede our leadership in human exploration.” But critics say the station serves no purpose save as a shuttle destination. “Give it to China,” says one physicist. “Let them support the damn thing.”