NASA can continue using the ISS after 2030

NASA management can continue to operate the International Space Station after 2030. Everything will depend on when commercial companies will create a replacement for it. All this is happening against the background of the reduction of the budget of the space agency. 

The ISS can be operated after 2030. Source: NASA

The US can stay on the ISS

The termination of the operation of the International Space Station after 2030 is not mandatory. Ken Bowersox, NASA’s deputy head of space operations, said this on November 2 at the Beyond Earth symposium. According to him, the schedule is actually flexible.

It has been said for a long time that the state of the ISS is approaching an emergency. And two years ago, NASA announced that it would be decommissioned by 2030. Instead, private companies should create at least one of their own stations.

According to Bowersox, the ISS termination schedule is actually tied to the start of operation of one of them. NASA requires little from its commercial partners. The station should minimally accommodate only two astronauts. This is significantly less than it can currently be on the International Space Station.

At the same time, the aerospace administration hopes that the station will not be the only one, and other organizations will also be engaged in the long-term stay of people in orbit. However, according to the same deputy head of NASA, the market should be ready for this, and it may happen that meeting their requirements until 2030 will be too difficult.

How complicated is it to stay at the station

The question of the possibility of extending the operation of the ISS after 2030 is not as simple as it seems. NASA is not the only participant in the project. Canada, the European Union and Japan were persuaded to finance it until 2030. Russia has already announced that it will definitely leave the ISS in 2028. A recent statement by the head of Roscosmos even explains why: 80 percent of the equipment is hopelessly worn out.

Whether the other partners will agree to do something after the deadline is a great question. As well as whether NASA is really ready for such a development. Actually, everyone wanted to hear Bowersox in connection with the reduction of the agency’s budget. Everyone is afraid that NASA simply does not have enough funds to develop activities in low-Earth orbit.

In addition, the advisory group expressed its concern on October 26 about the tight timing of the transition from the ISS to other stations. In the end, there may be a situation where the normal operation of the ISS is no longer possible, but it continues to be used because other stations are not ready.

The Commission called on NASA to fully finance the development of the US spacecraft for de-orbiting (USDV). The Aerospace Administration requested USD 180 million in fiscal year 2024 to begin work on the USDV and published a request for proposals for it in September. It assumes that the spacecraft will be ready in the late 2020s but contains options that can delay its launch until 2035.

According to

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