The International Space Station only has a short time left in space. First launched in 2000, the ISS has been instrumental in many of NASA’s research projects. Scientific, educational, and technological experiments have been the main purpose. The ISS will remain in operation per the Biden-Harris administration’s plan until the year 2030. Afterwards, it will be decommissioned, and crashed into the Pacific Ocean.
Robyn Gatens, director of the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters said of the news:
“The International Space Station is entering its third and most productive decade as a groundbreaking scientific platform in microgravity. This third decade is one of results, building on our successful global partnership to verify exploration and human research technologies to support deep space exploration, continue to return medical and environmental benefits to humanity, and lay the groundwork for a commercial future in low-Earth orbit. We look forward to maximizing these returns from the space station through 2030 while planning for transition to commercial space destinations that will follow.”
While the International Space Station is being decommissioned, they have plans to put up other crafts that will have the same capabilities as the ISS. NASA has entered into a contract for commercial modules to be attached to a space station docking port. They’ve also been awarding agreements for designs of 3 free-flying commercial space stations.
The space industry is developing these commercial destinations, and hopes to have them operational in the late 2020s. These are planned to be available for government and private sector customers, concurrent with space station operations, to ensure these new capabilities can meet the needs of the United States and its partners in the Artemis Accords.