New NASA director Bill Nelson has said that a commercial station will replace the International Space Station after 2030, while ISS project partners have agreed to operate it by 2024.
At the International Conference on Space Exploration GLEX-2021, US Space Agency (NASA) director Bill Nelson said on Tuesday, June 15, a commercial station will replace the International Space Station (ISS) in peri-terrestrial orbit after 2030. takes place in St. Petersburg.
The ISS would give way to “a commercial station that would continue to conduct experiments in orbit”, Nelson said, recalling that he had always advocated for an extension of ISS operations until 2030.
According to media reports, during the hearing of the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Nelson spoke in favor of increasing ISS operations on April 21. He then added that the 23-year-old station could be kept in service as long as it did not endanger the safety of its crew.
ISS, a station nearing retirement
For now, the ISS project partners have agreed to continue its operations until 2024.
The director of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, previously announced that Russia plans to shut down the ISS around 2025 because of the failure of equipment on board and the inability to replace its current module. .
The captain of the Russian section of the ISS, Vladimir Soloviev, indicated in October 2020 that experts expected “an avalanche of failures” at the orbital station after 2025.
In 2017, Vladimir Solntsev, managing director of the Russian space construction company RKK Energia, already predicted that it would be appropriate to close the ISS project in 2024, 26 years after the commissioning of the first module of the Zarya block.
One or more space stations are being built
In April, Mr. Rogozin said that construction work was already underway on the first module of the future Russian orbital station. This new part should be put into orbit by 2025.
In an interview given to the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in early June, the director of Roscosmos explained that the future national station “could remain in orbit almost forever” as it would be composed of age-replaceable modules. . According to him, this infrastructure can also accommodate astronauts from other countries while remaining national.
Last March, Russia and China also announced their intention to jointly build a station “on the surface or in orbit” of the Moon. The project will be open to all interested countries and international partners.