NASA Awards SpaceX $843 Million to Build Space Station Deorbit Vehicle

Credit: SpaceX

announced on Wednesday that it has selected to build a vehicle, dubbed the U.S. Deorbit Vehicle, tasked with safely deorbiting the International Space Station () by around 2030. This responsibility was originally planned for Russian thrusters.

The agreement, valued at $843 million, aims to ensure a controlled retirement of the ISS, minimizing risks to populated areas on Earth. SpaceX will develop the vehicle, with NASA taking ownership and overseeing its operation.

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The ISS, a collaborative effort led primarily by the United States and over its 24-year tenure, faces retirement due to aging components, prompting NASA and its global partners to set a 2030 target.

Amid geopolitical tensions and uncertainties surrounding Russia’s future involvement, NASA accelerated plans for independent deorbit capabilities, reflecting broader strategic shifts in U.S. space policy.

Looking beyond 2030, NASA has initiated for privately-built space stations in low-Earth orbit, including efforts involving and Jeff Bezos’ . These developments aim to maintain American presence in space and compete with ‘s expanding space station capabilities.

NASA continues its ambitious exploration goals, partnering with SpaceX and other entities to return humans to the for the first time since 1972.

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