This recent Roscosmos tweet (found in CNET's See astronaut's wild view of a discarded ISS module burning up) says:

The non-combustible structural elements of the #ProgressMS16 cargo ship and the #Pirs module fell in a non-navigable area of the Pacific Ocean.

Thank you for your work, Progress and Pirs!

Question: Into what non-navigable Pacific Ocean area did structural elements of the Progress MS16 cargo ship & Pirs module fall? Are there maps of these areas?

I'm curious if there are officially designated "non-navigable" areas in the Pacific and other oceans, and if mission designers know about them and aim for them, and if so, into which one of them this mission aimed.

Image from the linked tweet; click for full size

reentry of Progress MS16 cargo ship & Pirs module from Roscosmos tweet https://twitter.com/roscosmos/status/1419672251922792455

Image from Exp. 65/66's Thomas Pesquet's tweet:

So long DC1! After almost twenty years of service, instead of getting a medal First place medal, one of the @Space_Station's oldest @roscosmos modules got a little trip through the atmosphere. Shooting star #MissionAlpha https://flic.kr/p/2mdysX9

from Exp. 65/66's Thomas Pesquet's tweet https://twitter.com/Thom_astro/status/1420029229517922304


1 Answer 1


The usual spacecraft cemetery, known more formally as the South Pacific Ocean Uninhabited Area.

Wikipedia puts the general location at 43°34′48″S 142°43′12″W, and Roscosmos stated:

At 14:42 UTC, [MS-16/Pirs] entered the dense layers of the Earth's atmosphere, in 10 more minutes, the incombustible elements dropped into the spacecraft cemetery in the non-navigable part of the Pacific Ocean, 3.6 thousand km from the city of Wellington and 5.8 thousand km from the city of Santiago.

— Progress MS-16/Pirs spacecraft flight completed. July 26, 2021, 14:53 GMT. http://en.roscosmos.ru/22245/.

Plotting those ranges on gcmap.com with a red dot for the general location:

enter image description here

And it's a good match.

The non-navigable area is a reference to the pole of inaccessibility – neither term is literal. Wikipedia defines the latter as "the place in the ocean that is farthest from land" (shown by the blue dot/range).

The same on a globe:

enter image description here

They ought to name it Earth's bullseye.

  • $\begingroup$ Farthest from inhabited land. It looks like it is somewhat close to Antarctica. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 14:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DrSheldon: 2D projection does that. I now added the location of the actual pole of inaccessibility with range. $\endgroup$
    – ymb1
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 14:57

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