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posted by martyb on Monday August 22 2016, @10:09AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Privatized-International-Space-Station-==-PISS? dept.

NASA may sell/lease parts of the International Space Station in the next decade:

NASA has signalled its intention to offload the International Space Station (ISS) some time in the 2020s. News of the sale appeared in the video below, at about the 14:15 mark [YouTube] when Bill Hill, NASA's deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, ponders the ISS' role in future missions.

"Ultimately our desire is to hand the space station to either a commercial entity or some other commercial capability so that research can continue in low-Earth orbit. We figure that will be around the mid-20s."

Hill and the other speakers in the video explain how NASA is preparing for a crewed Mars mission and outline how the agency is now well and truly in the market for ideas about how to get it done.

Also at SpaceFlight Insider and TechCrunch.

Related:
Russia to Build New Space Station with NASA after ISS
Russia Investigates Downsizing Space Station Crew From Three to Two


Original Submission

Related Stories

Russia to Build New Space Station with NASA after ISS 18 comments

Discovery Magazine reports that in a landmark decision Russia has announced initial plans to build a new orbital space station together with NASA to replace the International Space Station (ISS), which is set to operate until 2024.

Igor Komarov, the head of Russia's Roscosmos space agency, made the announcement flanked by NASA administrator Charles Bolden at Russia's Baikonur launchpad in Kazakhstan. "Roscosmos together with NASA will work on the programme of a future orbital station," said Komarov. "We agreed that the group of countries taking part in the ISS project will work on the future project of a new orbital station." Russia had said earlier this year it planned to create its own space station after 2024 using its modules from the ISS after it is mothballed. The two agencies will be unifying their standards and systems of manned space programs, according to Komarov. “This is very important to future missions and stations.”

The next goal for the two agencies is a joint mission to Mars said NASA chief Charles Bolden. “Our area of cooperation will be Mars. We are discussing how best to use the resources, the finance, we are setting time frames and distributing efforts in order to avoid duplication.”

Russia Investigates Downsizing Space Station Crew From Three to Two 9 comments

NASA has confirmed that the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos is mulling whether or not to continue staffing the International Space Station with its usual complement of astronauts.

Last week the Russian newspaper Izvestia quoted Sergei Krikalev, director of manned programs at Roscosmos, saying that the agency had approached NASA about reducing its standard ISS crew count from three to two. Russia has had three astronauts on rotation in the ISS since 2010, but apparently that will be changing.

Krikalev said that delays in building the Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), the nodal unit (a structural join), and the scientific and power module – let alone lofting them into orbit – meant there was no need for three local astronauts on station. Cutting one would save money and allow Russia to auction off the place to space tourists.

"We'll look at it as we do with all these kind of things – we'll trade it against whatever risk that might put into the program, first and foremost the risk to our crew onboard, and the station itself. From there, we start looking at the options and see what we can do as a partnership to either accommodate it or help them realize why that's a bad thing."

[...] To make life more difficult, the Russians can no longer bank on getting cash from NASA for astronaut delivery past 2017. SpaceX should be ready to start sending crew to the ISS by then and Boeing is planning flights by 2018, so the $80m per launch Roscosmos was getting will no longer be coming in.


Original Submission

"No Sufficient Business Case" for 2025 Privatization of the ISS 12 comments

Trump's plan to privatize the ISS by 2025 probably won't work, NASA's inspector general says

The Trump Administration's plan to hand the International Space Station off to the private sector by 2025 probably won't work, says a government auditor. It's unlikely that any commercial companies will be able to take on the enormous costs of operating the ISS within the next six years, the auditor said.

NASA's inspector general, Paul Martin, laid out his concerns over the space station's transition during a Senate space subcommittee hearing May 16th, helmed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). During his testimony, Martin said that there's just no "sufficient business case" for space companies to take on the ISS's yearly operations costs, which are expected to reach $1.2 billion in 2024. The industries that would need the ISS, such as space tourism or space research and development, haven't panned out yet, he noted. Plus, the private space industry hasn't been very enthusiastic about using the ISS either — for research or for profit. "Candidly, the scant commercial interest shown in the station over its nearly 20 years of operation gives us pause about the agency's current plans," Martin said at the hearing.

Also at Ars Technica.

Related: NASA Intends to Privatize International Space Station
Congress Ponders the Fate of the ISS after 2024
Buzz Aldrin: Retire the ISS to Reach Mars
Can the International Space Station be Saved? Should It be Saved?
Trump Administration Plans to End Support for the ISS by 2025


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Monday August 22 2016, @11:02AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 22 2016, @11:02AM (#391554) Journal

    Given that it is an international space station, I guess NASA could not sell all of it, unless it first bought the other parts from the respective owners.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @11:06AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @11:06AM (#391557)

      In other news: US sells UN ...

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by isostatic on Monday August 22 2016, @12:32PM

      by isostatic (365) on Monday August 22 2016, @12:32PM (#391588) Journal

      What good is a space station when you can't actually get to it?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Monday August 22 2016, @12:54PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Monday August 22 2016, @12:54PM (#391595) Homepage Journal

      The worst part is the ISS's orbit is miserable for 90% of countries on Earth due to its inclination (which was a concession to Russia). The Space Shuttle had to expend a considerable amount of Delta-V to put it in the right plane with the ISS during a launch window to the point it could only carry half of its maximum rated capability. As far as space agencies who can actually reach the ISS, I'm not even sure the ESA, CSA, or JAXA could get a rocket there with their launch technologies with any sort of heavy lift payload. The ESA *might* from their launch site in South America (which is basically on the equator).

      That also drastically complicates extending the station's lifetime since you have less delta-V for reboosting operations required to keep the station operational for extended periods of time.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 2) by turgid on Monday August 22 2016, @12:58PM

        by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 22 2016, @12:58PM (#391598) Journal

        I thought ESA had already resupplied the ISS several times with Ariane/ATV?

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by gman003 on Monday August 22 2016, @06:22PM

          by gman003 (4155) on Monday August 22 2016, @06:22PM (#391775)

          Yes, as has JAXA (with H-IIB/HTV). However, GP specified "heavy lift payload", which is defined as 20-50 tonnes (Mg), which I believe is

          However, this is a bit incorrect. The ESA's Ariane 5 has a payload capacity only 600kg less than Russia's Proton-M (their biggest flying rocket, and more powerful than what they flew to launch their ISS modules), so they could easily orbit a new space station module, if they built one. I could crunch the numbers for exact dV to ISS inclination but if ESA can't get 20Mg to the ISS, neither could Russia, so I don't see why it's relevant. Indeed, a quick check shows that an ATV massed just over 20Mg at launch, qualifying it as a "heavy lift payload", although less than half of that was actual cargo capacity.

          Japan would be hit harder, as the biggest H-II is almost 30% weaker than Ariane 5/Proton-M (it compares well to a 3- or 4-booster Atlas V 5xx, if that means anything to you).

        • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday August 23 2016, @04:09AM

          by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Tuesday August 23 2016, @04:09AM (#391990) Homepage Journal

          You are in fact correct. And I was right they couldn't launch within the dV constrains from mainland Europe, Wikipedia says the launches were done in French Guiana.

          --
          Still always moving
          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23 2016, @07:42AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23 2016, @07:42AM (#392024)

            ESA only has the launch site in French Guiana, so that would be the expected place to launch any kind of rocket towards orbit.

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday August 22 2016, @06:19PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Monday August 22 2016, @06:19PM (#391772)

      I'm sure they're not talking about selling ALL of it, just the fractional U.S. interest in/ownership of it.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @06:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @06:21PM (#391774)

      They wouldn't sell it. They'd transfer ownership. Both the US and Russia would love to get it off their books.

    • (Score: 2) by dingus on Monday August 22 2016, @07:05PM

      by dingus (5224) on Monday August 22 2016, @07:05PM (#391818)

      The US is also selling parcels of land on the Moon. But international treaties don't apply to us, so it's okay.

    • (Score: 2) by turgid on Monday August 22 2016, @08:21PM

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 22 2016, @08:21PM (#391864) Journal

      That nice Mr Putin [youtube.com] once said that Russia would take its components of the ISS away and use them to build a new space station. Is that feasible? Could they afford to do it?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23 2016, @07:50AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23 2016, @07:50AM (#392026)

        That was because the US intended to scrap the ISS, but it seems that privatizing the ISS is intended as an alternative to scrapping it, so it won't be needed. Heck, Russia could make a bid for the US parts of the ISS, and end up with almost an entire space station (there are still a few European and Japanese parts).

        As for reusing the parts for a new space station, moving things that are already up there is cheaper than launching new stuff, and the entire ISS is built of modules that can be put together in different configurations. When they were still building it, modules were often moved around to make room for more modules.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @11:14AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @11:14AM (#391561)

    I don't remember that there was ever a financial report regarding how much income ISS earns next to how much it costs to keep. I am not sure there was a stampede in Billionaires' club when this announcement hit the press.

    Besides, do we need ISS? One way to monetize it would be do dismantle it, cut it to pieces and sell the pieces as souvenirs back at the bottom of gravity well ...
    (Now, having written that, I just had a revelation of how we could finance cleaning the Earth's orbit from satellite debris space junk)

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday August 22 2016, @12:36PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 22 2016, @12:36PM (#391591)

      After the first thousand pieces of space junk sell to people who care, the rest would flood the market to a point that it costs more to retrieve from orbit than it is worth to the collectors.

      --
      Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday August 22 2016, @04:01PM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday August 22 2016, @04:01PM (#391699) Journal

      The biggest cost of the space station, the initial construction, is paid for.

      Boosting the altitude of the ISS could be a one time cost if it was boosted significantly above LEO, or ion engines could be used to reduce the cost of stabilizing the orbit.

      As to what kind of commercial activity would happen on the ISS, who knows? It doesn't seem suitable as a refueling station, that's more the job of asteroids or the Moon. Tourism is an obvious but disappointing answer. ISS already has an inflatable Bigelow Expandable Activity Module that was ordered by NASA, but it will be jettisoned after two years of testing is over.

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      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @01:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @01:48PM (#391613)

    I can see this "International Space Station" from my viewing location on the surface of the Earth when i am, like, 20 degrees into the night. You can, too. Look carefully.

    This is not consistent with a bunch of reflective tubes and panels @400 km over the surface shining sunlight back to me. Or moonlight. Or city light.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @02:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @02:31PM (#391642)

      I call dumbass. How do you make it through the day with such an ignorant grasp of the physical sciences?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @03:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @03:24PM (#391676)

        He also thinks that bubbles in a turbulent medium move in straight lines, which proves that EVA footage takes place in giant pool in... *flips through notes*... oh who cares.

        I just wish he's move on to a better one already. I was liking the Weather War one.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @04:38PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @04:38PM (#391709)

          No, I am not that person.

          Even if I was, does not change the fact that I can see the 'ISS' as described above.

          • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @06:10PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @06:10PM (#391765)

            No, it just means that you have a weak grasp of orbits and basic geometry. The ISS spends 2/3rds of its orbit in sunlight. Why the hell wouldn't you see it from the ground. You may not realize this, but when you are in the dark doesn't mean that something 400km above you is in the dark as well. However, it might surprise you that when you close your eyes, the rest of the world doesn't actually disappear from existence.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @10:52PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @10:52PM (#391915)

              No, it just means that you have a weak grasp of orbits and basic geometry.

              You may not realize this, but when you are in the dark doesn't mean that something 400km above you is in the dark as well.

              Now you are in trouble, and you can thank your arrogant pretentiousness for it:

              When you a) get a clue about what a cosine is, and b) get your head out of your ass just enough to calculate whether an altitude of 400 km 22 degrees past the separator is inside or outside of the shadow cast from a 6397 km radius globe, come back and visit us.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @11:32PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @11:32PM (#391929)

                get your head out of your ass just enough to calculate whether an altitude of 400 km 22 degrees past the separator is inside or outside of the shadow cast from a 6397 km radius globe, come back and visit us.

                Let me get this straight: you are saying that you cannot see the ISS? Then what is that bright thing streaking across the sky? Are you suggesting aliens, or an "electric universe"? Your confusion is spreading. Now see what you have done! Would you be interested in some co-opt space real estate?

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday August 23 2016, @02:38AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 23 2016, @02:38AM (#391974) Journal
      Was there a point to your post? So you saw the ISS. I did too and my observation was consistent with what the ISS is supposed to be.
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23 2016, @10:35AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23 2016, @10:35AM (#392058)

        Was there a point to your post?

        Yes, there was a point in my post. Let me reiterate so there is no misunderstanding:

        It is geometrically impossible for an object at said altitude to reflect sunlight at that time and location. As I said, once past ~22 degrees of the separator, it is Game Over. You are most welcome to not take my claim at face value, and to do the math yourself. Even better, figure out when the 'ISS' is presumably in the shadow, and ambush it. Do not just go for 'published best viewing times': you know the inclination, you know the speed, so do these math yourself as well, predict its location and see what gives.

        I did too and my observation was consistent with what the ISS is supposed to be.

        Right. So when the Pharaoh commands the Sun to be eclipsed, and you see the eclipse, this is consistent with the Pharaoh having super-powers.

        PS>" Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily been disabled. "

        Freedom of Speech, huh? I would expect this from Facebook or Slashdot, but not Soylentnews.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday August 23 2016, @11:53PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 23 2016, @11:53PM (#392375) Journal

          It is geometrically impossible for an object at said altitude to reflect sunlight at that time and location. As I said, once past ~22 degrees of the separator, it is Game Over. You are most welcome to not take my claim at face value, and to do the math yourself. Even better, figure out when the 'ISS' is presumably in the shadow, and ambush it. Do not just go for 'published best viewing times': you know the inclination, you know the speed, so do these math yourself as well, predict its location and see what gives.

          The obvious rebuttal is that you did the math or observation wrong and your result is not reproducible. I'll point out that I've been outside at night a lot over the years with the ISS wizzing by. It's quite visible. I've only seen it when it's in sunlight (eg, right after sunset, for example) not at times when it would be in Earth's shadow. So my observation is just as valid as yours is.

          Let's point out some really obvious stuff here. First, 400 miles is just not that far away. You can image the ISS in a small telescope. If there's something other than the ISS there, then it'll look different. Second, the model of the ISS as a passive object that reflects sunlight will have a predictable spectrum. Again, you can observe that spectrum through a small telescope with attached spectrograph. I think if you sincerely do these observations and choose to accept the result, you'll have no reason to continue with this.

          PS>" Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily been disabled. "

          Freedom of Speech, huh? I would expect this from Facebook or Slashdot, but not Soylentnews.

          You have to be responsible too. Sounds like you posted an enormous amount of bullshit. It's not your personal echo chamber. Other people use this site too.

  • (Score: 1) by nitehawk214 on Monday August 22 2016, @03:09PM

    by nitehawk214 (1304) on Monday August 22 2016, @03:09PM (#391664)

    Title: "intends"
    Summary: "may"
    Actual article: almost devoid of content

    --
    "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday August 22 2016, @04:08PM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday August 22 2016, @04:08PM (#391700) Journal

      Title: "Intends to Privatize"
      Quote: "Ultimately our desire is to hand the space station to either a commercial entity or some other commercial capability"

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      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bob_super on Monday August 22 2016, @07:10PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Monday August 22 2016, @07:10PM (#391820)

        Hey, I've seen that one before!
          - Build off public funds
          - Exploit and "maintain" while sucking all the profits to a private corp
          - Come crying to the government(s) to do cleanup because otherwise the Children Might Be In Danger
          - Either let garbage lie at the bottom of the ocean, or resell pieces, depending on whether you filed for bankruptcy in the previous step.

        Come to think of it, I've seen that one too many times to still be on the wrong side of it...

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday August 22 2016, @07:46PM

          by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday August 22 2016, @07:46PM (#391842) Journal

          This is really not that bad. There's another option that has been considered: let it deorbit and burn. If someone can do something useful with the ISS that doesn't involve destroying it, the countries involved should let it happen, for a reasonable fee.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @08:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22 2016, @08:29PM (#391869)

    Put advertising stickers everywhere, put the NASCAR in NASA!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23 2016, @05:41PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23 2016, @05:41PM (#392219)

    Exoplanets is SO last year. Now it's all about exoplanet atmospheres. And next couple of years, 'we are going to confirm' some other shit and even 'directly image' it.

    But fuck that. Does it not puzzle you that there is not a single shot of an alleged astronaut performing the simple act of turning 180 degrees, showing you the Earth, and turning back? Or a view from the inside of the airlock, right before EVA? I mean, Tate claims to have a friggin' webcam in space. [tate.org.uk] Tate! They chose one of the many yet unexplained periodic lights on our sky, and claim it is 'their satellite'. Can't you see they are mocking you?

    Let's assume machines do actually orbit around. If YOU put such a 'space station', would you not absolutely stack the living fuck of it with cameras? And wouldn't you put at least 2 or 3 of those in every space suit?

    What is a valid reason for not packing all that with cameras? What, Ahmed will infiltrate and detonate? Please.