The anxiety of NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle program came to light when parliamentary representatives asked for more information about the agency’s plans for orbital spaceflight after the International Space Station.
Questions about the lifespan of stations, which are already over 20 years old, and how international and industry partnerships will drive low earth orbit (LEO) activities, are asked by the House Science and Technology Commission for two hours on space. It was done in a hearing. Aviation on Tuesday (September 21st). NS International Space Station Partners are currently working on orbital laboratories until 2024. NASA has long insisted The facility can be safely occupied until at least 2028, and US Space Agency Administrator Bill Nelson has approved that the station will continue to operate until 2030.
However, there is also concern that pushing the laboratory far beyond its design life is a courtship disaster, especially as the series of incidents marks a wise era for the facility. (The construction of the station began in 1998.) Others are afraid that NASA will get stuck on Earth when it relies on commercial orbital stations. Just a year after NASA regained direct access to the orbiting laboratory in 2020, the outlook is particularly tough. SpaceXCommercial dragons will be shipped from Russia after hitchhiking Soyuz vehicles for nearly a decade.
Robin Gatens, director of NASA’s International Space Station (ISS), said: Hearing.
“We can’t have a gap in American manned spaceflight in low earth orbit,” she emphasized. “That’s why NASA is working on an orderly transition from operating the ISS at LEO to a low-earth orbit, commercially available destination in the United States.”
America’s presence in low earth orbit
NASA has long believed that reliable access to low earth orbit is essential to the operation of the engine, regardless of the life of the International Space Station itself. Orbit provides government agencies with a low-risk environment. Testing techniques and procedures For crew missions to distant destinations, and to assess the health risks that astronauts may face in such missions.
However, space stations have expensive price tags. $ 3 billion or $ 4 billion annually. Gatens said preliminary estimates show that NASA could save more than $ 1 billion annually if NASA could grow a commercial outpost in orbit and instead pay to do research there. rice field.
Gatens has teased ongoing work on NASA’s plans to move from the International Space Station to a smaller private orbital outpost that NASA astronauts can visit to conduct research. Microgravity.. As the members of the committee pointed out, authorities now owes Congress an up-to-date report on the transition plan. Mr Gatens said the report should be submitted to the legislature “in the coming weeks.”
As part of the plan, she said NASA outlined a set of so-called transition indicators to guide the delivery of US presence in low earth orbit.
“The first and most important indicator is that there are commercial LEO destinations to transition to,” Gatens said. “It may sound pretty obvious, but it’s a prerequisite for us not to have a gap in low earth orbit.” Other indicators include the structural health of the International Space Station and the development of the commercial market. She said it would be included.
Politics and space flight
In addition to Gatens, members of the committee are current NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, former astronaut and first space station crew commander William Shepherd, aerospace company CEO and space station participant Nano. We heard testimony from think tank staff focusing on Lux and space.
The debate over what will happen next in low earth orbit is complicated by international politics. NASA and its Russian counterparts are co-leading a decades-old partnership behind the International Space Station, but the relationship between the two agencies is Tension in recent years.. Recently, Russia has been discussing the construction of its own orbital station and is also discussing a space partnership with China.
The tension may be reflected in the space station itself. Some of the space stations have spent a full 20 years in orbit, showing signs of age.Even new additions have proven difficult: Russian new Science module caused the entire space station If the thruster fires improperly during docking in late July, it can flip and rotate over 540 degrees, straining awkward structures.
Shepherd said the case because NASA does not yet have details on how the Russians first noticed the problem, how they tried to counter the problem, and other aspects of how the event unfolded. The aftermath of the event shows how the international partnership has weakened.
“We haven’t had such a detailed discussion, but it would have been very common 20 years ago,” Shepherd said.
“The business of getting the space station to work was to get closer to each other and sit around the table to solve the problem,” he said. “Currently, there is no correlation with Russia.”
In his comment, Gatens said that some of NASA’s transition plans include current international cooperation in low earth orbit, in addition to the agency’s ongoing efforts to appeal the partnership of the Artemis program towards the Moon in court. He said it would include the development of ways to continue.
Parliament to NASA: What’s Coming After the International Space Station?
Source link Parliament to NASA: What’s Coming After the International Space Station?