International Space Station could be followed by commercial space stations after 2030, NASA says

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — NASA hopes that commercial space stations will orbit Earth as soon as the International Space Station ultimately retires, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated right now (Aug. 25) on the thirty sixth Space Symposium. 

The space station, which was accomplished in 2011, could retire as quickly as 2024. However, right now, Nelson revealed that he expects the orbiting lab to final to 2030 and that NASA hopes it’s going to be changed by commercial labs in orbit.  

“We expect to expand the space station as a government project all the way to 2030. And we hope it will be followed by commercial stations,” Nelson stated throughout a “Heads of Agency” panel alongside different space leaders from world wide. 

Related: The International Space Station can’t last forever. Here’s how it will eventually die by fire.

Now, whereas NASA hopes for commercial space stations to take over because the International Space Station nears the top of its tenure, China has already begun constructing its personal space station. And, as NASA is prohibited from participating in bilateral actions with China, this transfer by China is extra aggressive than collaborative. 

“Unfortunately, I believe we’re in a space race with China,” Nelson stated in the course of the panel. “I’m speaking on behalf of the United States, for China to be a partner. I’d like China to do with us as a military adversary, like Russia has done … I would like to try to do that. But China is very secretive, and part of the civilian space program is that you’ve got to be transparent.”

Nelson pointed to Russia’s longstanding historical past as a collaborator alongside NASA in space, regardless of ongoing political divides again on Earth. While there have been many points and cases of rigidity between the nations in space, most just lately with Russia’s new Nauka module causing the space station to tailspin after it unintentionally fired its thrusters post-docking.

The state of affairs with Nauka has sparked questions in regards to the state of NASA’s present relationship and standing with Russia’s space agency Roscosmos. This state of affairs is additional sophisticated by the truth that Russia and China are collaborating on a moon base collectively. 

However, Nelson is assured in NASA’s partnership with Russia. 

The pair have been “enemies, even in the midst of the Cold War, that can come together and find a common denominator in the civilian space,” Nelson stated. 

Email Chelsea Gohd at [email protected] or comply with her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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