According to the experts’ projection, the International Space Station (ISS) should be operational until 2028.
For this reason, the countries that maintain a presence on the spacecraft through their astronauts seek solutions for when this occurs.
NASA, for example, has just commissioned three companies to build a new station to replace the ISS.
The government agency signed different agreements with the companies for a value of 416 million dollars. The idea is that beneficiaries can develop designs for space stations and other private destinations in space.
The selected companies were Blue Origin ($ 130 million), Nanoracks LLC ($ 160 million) and Northrop Grumman ($ 125 million).
In a statement, NASA explained that what it seeks with these agreements is “to maintain an uninterrupted US presence in low Earth orbit by transitioning the International Space Station to other platforms.”
In this way, the amounts awarded will help encourage the development of the independent private space station sector that will be available to the government and private sector clients.
This project considers several phases; In the first of these, private industry together with NASA will formulate and design commercial capabilities for low Earth orbit destination that are adapted to the needs of the government and the private sector.
The managers estimate that this first stage could be extended until 2025.
“Building on our successful initiatives to partner with private industry to deliver cargo, and now our NASA astronauts, to the International Space Station, NASA is once again leading the way to commercialize space activities,” noted the NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.