Russia and its partners plan to plunge the International Space Station (ISS) into the ocean at the end of its life cycle after 2020 so as not to leave space junk, the space agency said on Wednesday.
"After it completes its existence, we will be forced to sink the ISS. It cannot be left in orbit, it's too complex, too heavy an object, it can leave behind lots of rubbish," said deputy head of Roskosmos space agency Vitaly Davydov.
A piece of space debris narrowly missed the space station last month in a rare incident that forced the six-member crew to scramble to their rescue craft.
The ISS, which orbits 220 miles above Earth, is a sophisticated platform for scientific experiments bringing together space agencies from Russia, the United States, Europe, Japan, and Canada.