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posted by martyb on Monday August 22 2016, @10:09AM   Printer-friendly
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.

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

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

    by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <> 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.

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  • (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 <> 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.

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      • (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.