Why in News:
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced plans to retire and decommission the International Space Station (ISS) by 2031.
- The ISS was launched in 1998 as part of joint efforts by the U.S., Russia, Japan, Canada and Europe. The space station was assembled over many years, and it operates in low-earth orbit.
- The space station is parked at Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at approximately 350 km above the Earth.
- The ISS makes multiple orbits around the Earth every day.
- The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields.
- China was barred from the ISS by the United States.
- NASA plans to remove the ISS from its orbit around the earth and eventually plunge it into the ocean.
- China has its own Tiangong station in orbit around the Earth now.
- India has also set its eye on building its own space station in low earth orbit to conduct microgravity experiments in space in 5 to 7 years.