NASA hopes to fund Mars mission by renting out space on ISS
The International Space Station is past its prime, and NASA is looking to rent it out to commercial concerns as the agency looks towards the Moon and Mars.
With the first module of the station entering Low-Earth Orbit in the late 1990s, the ISS has outlived its projected service life but remains usable.
While a return to the Moon and a trip to Mars are on the horizon, such projects cost a lot of money and leave the ISS hanging like an albatross around NASA’s neck.
The solution? Open the ISS to private companies- for a fee, of course.
“NASA is opening the International Space Station to commercial opportunities and marketing these opportunities as we’ve never done before,” said the agency’s chief financial officer, Jeff DeWit. “The commercialization of low Earth orbit will enable NASA to focus resources to land the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024, as the first phase in creating a sustainable lunar presence to prepare for future missions to Mars.”
According to NPR, NASA officials held a major press event at the Nasdaq stock market’s MarketSite in New York City several weeks ago to discuss such a venture.
“We are so excited to be part of NASA as our home and laboratory in space transitions into being accessible to expanded commercial and marketing opportunities, as well as to private astronauts,” American astronaut and ISS inhabitant Christina Koch said to potential investors in a life feed from the ISS.
However, many current and former NASA employees don’t think the ISS will be able to last that long, as the station is nearing a definite end of service life.
“Space station really has up to, say, less than 10 years of lifetime,” said Dava Newman, a scientist at MIT and a former NASA deputy administrator.
As for private ventures in space, it’s only a matter of time.
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