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NASA Official: ISS Retirement Depends on Commercial Space Stations’ Readiness

International Space

Station

NASA Official: ISS Retirement Depends on Commercial Space Stations’ Readiness

The International Space Station could operate beyond 2030, depending on the readiness of commercial space stations under development with support from the space agency, according to a NASA official. 

At the Beyond Earth Symposium, Ken Bowersox, NASA associate administrator for space operations, explained that the ISS retirement in 2030 is not required and the transition to commercial stations should not be rushed, citing challenges in ensuring technology maturity and funding private space laboratories, SpaceNews reported.

Various companies that partnered with NASA to develop space station concepts under the Commercial Low-Earth Orbit program include Nanoracks, Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman. 

Developing commercial stations within a tight schedule could also result in programmatic and safety risks, according to NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, which held a public meeting recently.

The panel, meanwhile, encouraged the space agency to fund the full development process of the U.S. Deorbit Vehicle, a spacecraft that will remove the ISS from its operating orbit when it reaches the end of its life. 

NASA is accepting proposals for the USDV until Nov. 17.

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Category: Space

Tags: Commercial Low-Earth Orbit commercial space station International Space Station Ken Bowersox NASA space SpaceNews U.S. Deorbit Vehicle