MOSCOW, July 27 (UPI) -- The International Space Station will be de-orbited and crashed into the Pacific Ocean after 2020 like its Russian predecessor Mir, Russian space officials say.
"We will be forced to sink the ISS," Russian Space Agency Deputy Head Vitaly Davydov said Wednesday.
"We cannot leave it in orbit as it is a very complicated and a heavy object. There must be no space waste from it."
The ISS has been in operation for 13 years, serviced and supplied by numerous international space expeditions, RIA Novosti reported.
"We have agreed with our partners that the ISS would function roughly until 2020," the Roscosmos head said, noting the station's life was initially estimated at 15 years.
The agreement to construct the ISS was signed Jan. 29, 1998, in Washington by representatives from Canada, members of the European Space Agency, Japan, Russia and the United States.
The Mir space station operated from 1983 to 1998 before being crashed into the Pacific Ocean in a "spacecraft cemetery" in 2000.