The company is rapidly designing private space stations that may one day dominate the Earth’s orbit.
Why it matters: NASA hopes that once the International Space Station ends, private companies will begin to take over low-Earth orbit operations, thereby establishing a strong commercial market in that part of the space.
- Commercially operated private space stations are an important part of NASA’s vision to purchase services from on-orbit companies and then focus on further goals (such as reaching the moon and Mars).
Push the news: NASA detailed an initiative at the end of March, requiring companies to cooperate with them to develop private space stations that may become destinations for NASA astronauts and research in the future.
- Under these agreements, NASA will support the company before the end of fiscal year 2025 when the company develops the space station and conducts a preliminary design review (which is an important assessment of the technology required to make the station fly).
- After the announcement, Sierra Nevada Corporation announced its plan to build a private space station.
- Another company, Axiom Space, has already planned to build its own commercial space station after it started planning to attach modules to the International Space Station in the next few years.
Between lines: When the International Space Station is decommissioned before the end of this century, NASA hopes to avoid gaps in the organization̵
- Before the end of the space shuttle program, the space agency was forced to rely on Russia to get into orbit until commercial flyers like SpaceX began to run.
- Through its current cooperation with private companies, the agency said it hopes to make a smooth transition to private radio rather than stop at the end of the International Space Station.
- Phil McAlister, Director of Commercial Space Development at NASA, said at an event: “We won’t just turn off the lights one day.” Operations, we will reduce ISS operations [low-Earth orbit] destination. This gives us some time. “
NASA has effectively proven This public/private partnership model of entering orbit with SpaceX’s flying astronauts.
But, but, but: Operating a private space station is much larger than simply sending people into space, and some experts in the industry say that before the end of the International Space Station, private companies don’t have enough time to start its space station.
- The funding attached to NASA’s new program may also be insufficient to put these stations into use in a timely manner.
- “I don’t see how they can achieve this goal by 2024 [or] Victoria Samson of the Safe World Foundation told Axios, “By 2028. I think we are likely to be earlier than the Chinese space station before the commercial space station or the private sector space station.”