- NASA is looking for private companies to replace the International Space Station and expects to award $400 million in contracts
- Phil McAllister, NASA’s commercial-spaceflight director, said the agency has received “about a dozen proposals” to replace the ISS.
- Axiom Space is already building ‘world’s first private space station’
As NASA prepares to retire the International Space Station by the end of the decade, the US space agency is looking for private companies for a replacement and is expected to award $400 million in contracts to do so.
Phil McAllister, NASA’s commercial-spaceflight director, told CNBC that the agency has received “about a dozen proposals” to replace the ISS, which was launched into orbit in November 1998.
“We got an incredibly strong response from the industry, which was our announcement for proposals for commercial, free fliers that go straight into orbit,” McAllister said. news outlet.
‘I don’t remember the last time we got so many offers’ [in response] to do [human spaceflight] Announcement of contract.’
NASA is looking for private companies to replace the International Space Station and expects to award $400 million in contracts
NASA said it had received ‘about a dozen proposals’ to replace the International Space Station, which was launched in November 1998
Earlier this year, NASA Unveiled The Commercial LEO (Low-Earth Orbit) Destination Project helps private companies build their own space stations, of which NASA is one of ‘many’ customers.
McAlister did not name the companies working on the proposals, but some space exploration companies have already publicly expressed interest in building a private space station.
CNBC noted that more than 50 companies were interested in the commercial LEO destination project when it was announced, including SpaceX, Boeing and Blue Origin.
In August, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Collins Aerospace said it was building a life support system for a private space station, though it declined to reveal the mystery buyer.
Axiom Space, a private space tourism operator that manages flights to the ISS with SpaceX, has discussed building ‘the world’s first private space station’, noting that construction is underway
Axiom Space, a private space tourism operator that manages flights to the ISS with SpaceX, has discussed building itself ‘the world’s first private space station’. Website, saying that the construction is going on.
McAllister said it costs NASA about $4 billion a year to operate the ISS, which costs about $100 billion to build, assemble and run over a period of 30 years. European Space Agency.
By having facilities on private space stations instead of the ISS, it could save NASA more than $1 billion per year, McAllister explained.
NASA had a similar mindset when it came to replacing the Space Shuttle.
The space agency awarded contracts to develop and build new spaceships to companies under the Commercial Crew Program, which was awarded to SpaceX and Boeing, respectively.
McAllister also pointed out that NASA needs ‘the right size of us’ [low Earth orbit] infrastructure with a new space station’, adding that it will eventually only ‘pay for the part that we need.’
He added that NASA hopes to announce the contract winners “before the end of the year.”
The ISS is officially approved to operate through December 2024 Space.com.
However, NASA has awarded Axiom Space a $140 million contract to fly modules to the ISS by 2024 that will eventually become their own space station.
McAllister told CNBC that NASA is counting on Congress to extend the life span of the ISS to 2028 because “we’re not going to be ready with these.” [independent] Destination by 2024.
Low Earth orbit, where the ISS currently resides, may one day be littered with human habitable outposts – both commercial and government.
There are currently two, the ISS itself, and Tiangong, the Chinese space station, which was launched earlier this year and was scheduled to be about the size of Mir upon completion.
In June, three Chinese astronauts successfully settled in the Tiangong space station, which is much smaller than the ISS.
Russia is also working on its own space station, the first time it will operate its base in orbit since the Soviet-era Mir decommissioned in 2001.
In August, Russia claimed they had found ‘bad’ cracks on the ISS, however, NASA later denied the report, saying the floating space lab was operating normally.
Explained: The $100 billion International Space Station is 250 miles above Earth
The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
It has been in permanent operation since November 2000 by rotating the astronauts and crew of astronauts.
The crews have mainly come from the US and Russia, but the Japanese space agency JAXA and the European Space Agency ESA have also sent astronauts.
The International Space Station has been continuously occupied for more than 20 years and many new modules have been added and upgraded to the system.
Research conducted on the ISS often requires one or more unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low gravity or oxygen.
ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physics, astronomy and meteorology.
The US space agency, NASA, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) per year on the space station program, with the rest of the money coming from international partners including Europe, Russia and Japan.
So far 244 persons from 19 countries have visited the station, and eight of them are private citizens who have spent up to $50 million for their travel.
There is an ongoing debate about the future of the station beyond 2025, when it is thought that some of the original structure will reach ‘end of life’.
Russia, a major partner in the station, plans to launch its own orbital platform around that time, with a private Axiom Space…