Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Friday October 05 2018, @09:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the after-$150-billion,-what's-a-few-billion-more? dept.

ISS partners show interest in station extension

NASA's partners in the International Space Station are showing a growing interest in extending the station's operations beyond 2024 regardless of NASA initiatives to end direct funding of the station around that time. During an Oct. 1 press conference at the 69th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) here, representatives of three ISS partner agencies said they were open to extending the station's operations to 2028 or 2030 in order to maximize the investment they've made in the facility as a platform for research and preparation for exploration activities beyond Earth orbit.

Jan Woerner, director general of the European Space Agency, said the issue could come up at the next triennial meeting of the ministers of ESA's member nations, scheduled for late 2019. "At the ministerial meeting next year, the ministerial council, I will propose to go on with ISS as well as the lunar Gateway," he said. "I believe that we will go on." At a separate briefing Oct. 2, Woerner emphasized the use of the station as a research platform and encouraged greater commercial activities there. "I believe we should use the ISS as long as feasible," he said. "I always thought 2024 was the end, but now I learned it is 2028, and yesterday I learned it's 2030. So, I will try to convince the ESA member states that ESA should be a partner in the future." However, he noted that ESA could defer the decision on a post-2024 ISS extension until its following ministerial meeting in 2022.

Japan's JAXA and Russia's Roscosmos are also likely to participate until 2028 or 2030.

Separately, a Congressman has introduced the Leading Human Spaceflight Act, which would extend the existing authorization for operating the ISS to 2030:

In his opening statement at a House space subcommittee hearing on the past and future of NASA's space exploration efforts, Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), chairman of the subcommittee, said he was introducing legislation called the Leading Human Spaceflight Act that he said was designed to "provide further congressional direction to NASA."

[...] The proposed extension of the ISS to 2030 in the House bill mirrors language in the Space Frontier Act introduced in the Senate in July. That bill was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee Aug. 1 and awaits action by the full Senate.

That's more time with which we could send BFRs to the ISS to move it, swap modules, or gently disassemble it.

Previously: Can the International Space Station be Saved? Should It be Saved?
Trump Administration Plans to End Support for the ISS by 2025

Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @03:20PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @03:20PM (#744643)

    Or lift external blankets of a additional MLI (multi layer insulation) to it, to make it sufficiently radiation proof to function as a lunar station. Then pushing it up there via a couple of ion drives.

    I've seen a lot of arguments that building a new station is cheaper than retrofitting the old one for lunar orbit. I seriously doubt that is the case.

    ISS Insulation is fabric, so it can be rolled and folded to fit into a variety of payload shapes. It can also be cut and fit in place. That would be true even if it was lead. And the radiators are out on the truss, so external blankets wouldn't interfere with them. So even if your talking 50 space walks, it would still be cheaper than engineering a whole new set of cans. Particularly with the Falcon 9 sending crews up in fast enough rotations to do a "watch and watch" refit schedule.

    Can the falcon 9 be used for spacewalks directly without a secondary airlock assembly? If so, they really don't even need to board. A refit crew of two guys goes up for a week, refits the station, and comes back down. The station acts as a lifeline, and continues business as normal. That would allow mission volume to build up and hopefully result in more public interest. Maybe gets some national teams to compete with each other to get some national pride involved.

    More flying, less analysis paralysis.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @08:57PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @08:57PM (#744795)

    Cheaper only matters if the point is to do something useful. A fuel depot in some lunar or halo orbit might be useful, but nobody's proposing one, and ISS definitely isn't useful as one.

    The point of NASA's currently proposed cislunar space station, LOP-G, is to give SLS something to do (construct and visit a lunar space station), i.e. it's about pork for aerospace companies, not utility. Any plan that involves NOT giving SLS something to do is a poor substitute, no matter how much cheaper it is.