NASA asks commercial space companies to develop space stations | to know

NASA asks commercial space companies to develop space stations |  Science

NASA is providing more than $415 million (367 million euros) to three companies that will be tasked with developing commercial space stations. The money will go, among other things, to Blue Origin for entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, who focuses on space tourism.

The ISS is due to be replaced in 2028 and NASA hopes to find suitable successors through commercial companies. In addition to Blue Origin, who will receive $130 million for the job, Northrop Grumman ($125.6 million) and Nanoracks ($160 million).

The US space agency is increasingly seeking help from the private sector in developing rockets, spacecraft and stations in an effort to cut costs. Additionally, this way NASA can better focus on its own goals, such as a manned mission to Mars.

A commercial complex in space

Blue Origin collaborates with Sierra Space to de Coral reefs To develop a space station that must be ready in the second half of this decade and can accommodate ten people. The space station has also been described as a “business park in space”.

Meanwhile, Nanoracks is working on building starlab-The space station, which is supposed to be operational by 2027. The station will include a large inflatable habitat, a robotic cargo arm and a research laboratory. There should also be a section for tourism. Earlier, Axiom Space had already received $140 million from NASA to work on a new space station.

None of the companies disclosed the cost of the space stations. NASA’s financial commitment must not exceed 40 percent of total costs.

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Astronauts replace an antenna on the International Space Station (video still image, December 2, 2021). © via Reuters

International Space Station and Miro

The International Space Station (ISS) was launched on November 20, 1998, and was a collaboration between the United States and Russia. The Russians owned their first permanently manned space station, Mir, but in the 1990s they lacked the money to keep it operating at full capacity. The International Space Station is also not cheap: it has cost more than 150 billion euros to build and maintain the station so far.

The space station is operated by an international partnership of five space agencies from fifteen different countries. Since November 2000, the station has been continuously operated by a rotating international crew of seven astronauts. They see the sun rise every 90 minutes: The International Space Station orbits the Earth sixteen times in 24 hours, at a distance of nearly four hundred kilometers.

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