NASA laid out its plans earlier this year to run International Space Station (ISS) by end of this contractAnd then you will Throw him in a fiery death. NASA is currently supporting the development of commercial stations to maintain US access to orbit, but there are concerns that these will not be ready by the time the International Space Station is retired.
according to SpaceNews report (Opens in a new tab) Citing a July 21 meeting of NASA’s Space Safety Advisory Committee (ASAP), the committee is now warning of a “risky path” in which there may not be enough time or resources to move before the ISS is retired. “This is an area of concern for us,” said Patricia Sanders, ASAP committee chairwoman who has spent decades at the Department of Defense.
Related: Photo tour of the International Space Station
One issue that threatens to create a divide between the ISS and the commercial stations that might follow is the funding that such a transition would require. It is also unclear how NASA will be able to ensure that there is enough seed business to fully fund the stations’ activities through commercial investment alone.
If interest is low, NASA may have to find funding to serve as a “bridge” while the commercial stations begin operations. “NASA really needs to recognize and plan for the underlying reality that maintaining a continued human presence in orbit now and in the future will require significant government investment,” said ASAP panel member Amy Donahue, who is also the dean of the Coast Guard Academy. In Connecticut, Spacenews reports.
In December 2021, NASA awarded three contracts totaling $415.6 million to Blue Origin, Nanoracks LLC and Northrop Grumman as part of a program It aims to finance and develop commercial space stations. The agency hopes to reach the initial design review stages of each of the proposed space station concepts, including discussion of potential customers and destinations, by the end of fiscal year 2025, in September 2025.
NASA has already entered into a partnership with Axiom Space To launch commercial units to the International Space Station, the first of them will be launched in 2024 if the proposed schedule holds, and eventually separated to fly on their own.
These aren’t the first concerns that NASA advisers have expressed about the risks of a gap between the International Space Station and anything that might happen after that. And NASA has had painful experience with such vulnerabilities in its operations before, something the agency would like to avoid repeating.
“We encountered a gap in our transportation system when we retired the shuttle that we don’t want to replicate with our American human presence in low Earth orbit,” said Robin Gatines, NASA Administrator for the International Space Station. during a hearing In September 2021.
“This is why NASA is committed to an orderly transition from International Space Station operations in LEO to destinations that the United States provides commercially in LEO,” she added. “We can’t have a hole in American human spaceflight in low Earth orbit.”