(Mirror Daily, United States) – For the purpose of budget cuts, NASA will be boarding off the ISS by 2028 and will leave the station to whatever fate it might befall once they stop funding it. It has been 15 years since astronauts started living on the International Space Station (ISS) in low-Earth orbit. Within the next 15 years, that might stop.
According to NASA human spaceflight chief, William Gersteinmaier, the space agency has every intent to depart from the ISS as quickly as possible. There are two reasons offered. One is for the purpose of sparing funds that would exceed their budget at some point. Currently, NASA has a budget of around $3 billion, and the costs are estimated to rise to $4 billion by 2020. That means they need to make adjustments.
And most have already seen their attempts. For one, NASA has been given private companies such as SpaceX or Boeing approval for building capsules that would send their astronauts into space. This would spare them the large sum currently given to the Russian space agency. The Soyuz capsule has been in use of American astronauts as well. NASA is paying the Russian space agency around $70 million per seat.
Through the development of the private sector in terms of space exploration, they could save money by working with American companies.
Another reason is the fact that they “need” to move on if they want to pursue deep space. According to Gersteinmaier, NASA wants to continue their explorations and wishes the private sector would take over the ISS. Be it for commercial purposes, mining, or tourism, perhaps they could take over the abandoned space station.
NASA, however, needs it if they want to be able to afford exploring cislunar space. The agency wants to bring men on the moon once again. It will not be able to afford both funding the ISS and conducting deep space exploration at the same time. The last manned flight to the moon was in 1972 by Apollo 17. Now, Orion is being tested for possibly bringing a human crew to the moon by 2021 again.
They need money for that, and the ISS is becoming a burden for NASA. Their statements also slashed any rumors that they will be building ISS 2.0. In the most likely scenario though, Gersteinmaier stated that the ISS might be de-orbited safely, by making it break apart in Earth’s atmosphere, and have the pieces crash into the Pacific Ocean.
It will be the end of a significant chapter in human history, but China is already planning another space station by 2020, with Europeans invited to join. NASA, on the other hand, will be focusing on exploring outside our planet’s orbit.
Image source: boeing.com
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