Another 10 year commitment encourages research and commercial investment in low Earth orbit, NASA says.
NASA announced during a press conference today that agency administrator Charles Bolden and President Obama’s senior science adviser John Holdren will publish a blog post this afternoon committing the United States to operating the International Space Station through 2024.
Previously, the U.S. and its international partners had committed to run the station until 2020. But in the past few years, researchers have finally started to “hit their stride” with microgravity research, commercial launch companies have made significant headway, and plans for deep space exploration by humans have started to take shape, says associate administrator for NASA’s human spaceflight William Gerstenmaier. A full 10 year extension, he says, “will change the way folks see their investment” in the station.
Gerstenmaier went on to explain that scientists, whose research can take two to three years to prepare for launch, will be more likely to sign up if they’re not facing a 2020 de-orbit. NASA continues to work with companies on commercial crew vehicles whose main destination will be the station. And finally, if we ever want to send people to an asteroid, Mars, or elsewhere, we need ...