The International Space Station, having finished operating in 2030, will sink to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, to the so–called Point Nemo, according to the American space agency NASA.

Point Nemo is the most remote place from land on planet Earth, also known as the graveyard of spaceships. Space debris and old satellites fall here. In 2001, the Russian Mir space station landed at Nemo Point. The ISS will be there presumably in early 2031.

The ISS, a joint project of five space agencies, has been in orbit since 1998. Since 2000, an international crew has been constantly working here. More than 3,000 scientific studies have been conducted in the microgravity laboratory.

However, the plan for further joint work was approved only until 2024. Any extension must be agreed with all ISS partners.

NASA has stated that the commercial sector will play a major role in the space industry in the future. The plan to decommission the ISS marks the transition to a new era for activities in low Earth orbit – an area of outer space close to Earth.

“The private sector is technically and financially capable of developing and operating commercial low–orbit destinations with the help of NASA,” said Phil McAllister, head of the space agency’s commercial direction.

In 2020, NASA signed a contract with the Texas Company Axiom Space for the construction of at least one habitable module that will be attached to the ISS. It is hoped that these new projects will be in orbit before the ISS is decommissioned.

The commercial sector is already an important part of the U.S. space program, and private companies are responsible for the delivery of crews and cargo. The Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft are also used for this purpose.

NASA says it will save $1.3 billion by switching to the private sector to operate in low Earth orbit. The remaining money can be spent on deep space exploration.