Since launching the Starlink constellation in May, SpaceX has lost contact with three of the satellites, and taken two functioning satellites out of action, to test the spacecraft's ability to propulsively deorbit
"Following this, there will be two deorbit
maneuvers of Vikram Lander to prepare for its landing in the south polar region of the moon," the statement said.
Dragon will fire its thrusters to move a safe distance from the station, then execute a deorbit
burn around 3:22 p.m.
Asked when NASA expected to deorbit
the station, a spokesperson for the agency said that no specific year is being targeted.
"It will be in orbit until July 2019, and then will be controlled to deorbit
." In 2016, two astronauts spent a month inside Tiangong-2 as part of China's longest-ever crewed space mission.
Following HTV-7's departure from the station and several deorbit
maneuvers, the capsule will be ejected from the spacecraft's hatch for a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Japan, where a JAXA ship will recover it.
Complicating the issue, the same technology required to remove space junk could also potentially be applied to deorbit
an enemy nation's active satellite.
But whose stuff can you deorbit
? NASA, for example, would be allowed to deorbit
its own space junk, but the legality of grabbing onto someone else's dead satellite is questionable, even if it belongs to a country that no longer has a space program.
"After the initial loss of contact, with a joint effort by EchoStar and Lockheed Martin, a command and control link was re-established and deorbit
manoeuvers performed," saidDerek de Bastos, Chief Technology officer for EchoStar Satellite Services L.L.C.
To avoid the legal issues surrounding ADR for debris belonging to other countries, CleanSpace One plans to only deorbit
its own out-of-commission nanosatellite.
Officially, the mission ends with Juno's deorbit
on February 20, 2018.