Could private industries fill the whole space station void after the ISS is expected to end by 2024? The future of space stations is currently uncertain once the official International Space Station would end its mission. Could China and private industries fill the void?
International Space Station Timeline
According to TheNextWeb, retiring the ISS in the upcoming years actually presents a huge void of what the future of space stations will be like once the ISS stops in the coming years. The question also includes should the ISS be decommissioned or could the mission lifetime be actually extended.
The construction of the ISS initially started in 1998 and was completed in 2011. Ever since then, the ISS has housed travelers in space from 19 different countries. Possessing the only particular laboratory for long-duration microgravity research, discoveries that are aboard the orbiting outpost have reportedly led to a whole bevy of other new discoveries. Virgin Galactic got an FAA suspension due to its 'dangerous' mission while things are under investigation.
ISS to End 2024
As of the moment, its mission could end in 2024, as this is the actual time agreements between both NASA and other international partners are coming to an end. However, on August 25, 2021, Bill Nelson, NASA administrator, stated his long support for extending the mission of the space station until the year 2030, according to Medium.
Nelson noted that they are expected to expand the space station as the government project all the way up to 2030. He also noted that they hope it will be followed by certain commercial stations. Although Nelson has actually long supported extending the lifetime of the International Space Station to 2030, the United States Congress has, so far, reportedly failed to continue its funding past 2024.
Future of Space Stations Privatized?
An agreement like this would also need the approval of Russia, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Director general of the European Space Agency Josef Aschbar strongly supports the extension. Head of the German space agency known as DLR, Walther Pelzer, also strongly supports an extension.
The future of space stations could actually be private, as the ability to reach space could become more common among other non-government organizations or NGOs. A certain company developing private space stations, Axiom Space, now seeks to start with expanding out the ISS while constructing their very own orbiting outpost.
Axiom and Sierra Space
Their very own egg-shaped modules are reportedly designed to be able to provide a whole 360-degree view of space and the Earth turning very far below. The team reports that once they are fully assembled, Axiom Station will be able to nearly double the whole usable volume of the ISS.
Sierra Space also has its very own design for long-term habitation in certain low-Earth orbits. The SpaceX Inspiration4 mission is going to use iPhone, iPad, and the Apple Watch for other future spaceflight health studies.
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Written by Urian B.