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NASA is going to destroy International Space Station, but faces big setback



NASA is planning to replace the International Space Station with commercial stations, but there is a BIG problem, NASA shared.

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Earlier this year, NASA confirmed that the space agency and its partners will destroy the International Space Station (ISS) at the end of this decade. Why? Because the station was never intended to last forever and scientists and researchers have been using the ISS for more than 20 years. NASA will be focusing, over the following decade, on a number of commercially-run modules to maintain U.S. access to Earth’s orbit. But there are concerns that these will not be ready by the time the ISS is retired.

A NASA safety advisory panel indicated its concern that the agency may not be able to transition from the International Space Station to commercial space stations in the said period of time to avoid leaving a gap in America’s presence in low Earth orbit (LEO), a SpaceNews report cited a July 21 meeting of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. Now, the panel warned of a “precarious trajectory”, which suggests that there might not be enough time to move before the retirement of the ISS.

Why NASA is concerned about the ISS end and delay in commercial stations

Back in December 2021, NASA awarded three contracts to Blue Origin, Nanoracks LLC, and Northrop Grumman, comprising a total of $415.6 million as the funding and development of a project for the commercial space stations. NASA hopes to reach the preliminary design for all these by September 2025.

However, one of the issues that is concerning the widening gap between the ISS and commercial stations is the funding that would be required during the transition phase. If the concerns regarding funding remain the same, then NASA may have to find more funding sources to serve as a “bridge” in the transition phase before the beginning of operations at the commercial stations.

Amy Donahue, an ASAP panel member said, “NASA really needs to acknowledge and plan for the underlying reality that maintaining a continuous human presence on orbit now and into the future is going to require significant government investment.” Earlier, Robyn Gatens, NASA’s director for the ISS, said during a hearing in September 2021, “We did experience a gap in our transportation system when we retired the shuttle that we do not wish to repeat with our human presence in low Earth orbit.”

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