At the 36th annual Space Symposium, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that once the International Space Station Eventually retires, NASA hopes that commercial space stations will orbit the Earth and continue the scientific works in space.
The International Space Station is a multinational collaborative project consisting of space agencies from 5 countries that are NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). The idea for ISS was conceived in the year 1984 and the first module was sent in the year 1998. The modular space station was finally completed in the year 2011 with all the originally proposed modules and was originally slated to retire as soon as 2024. But now, Bill Nelson said on Wednesday that he expects the orbiting lab to last to 2030 and that NASA hopes it will be replaced by commercial labs in orbit.
During a panel named “Heads of Agency” consisting of other space leaders around the world, he said that, “We (NASA) expect to expand the space station as a government project all the way to 2030. And we hope it will be followed by commercial stations.”
As the tenure for ISS nears its end and NASA is hoping private players like SpaceX and Blue Origin to step in, the Chinese space agency has already begun building its own space station. And, as the Federal Laws of the USA prevents NASA from engaging in bilateral activities with China, the NASA official feels that the move by China is more competitive than collaborative.
Recently the Russian module which was docked at the ISS caused the entire satellite to tailspin after it accidentally fired its thrusters post-docking putting the life of astronauts in the satellite in danger as well as endangering the most expensive man-made object at a cost of US$150 billion.
Once, private players enter the space station, it will be a massive boost for the space tourism industry which is projected to be more than US$30 billion. recently in July British Company Virgin Galactic and American tech giant Jeff Bezos backed Blue Origin sent humans on a brief space trip in their own rockets.