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Waspie_Dwarf

Ending ISS too soon would be a mistake

Should funding be ended for the ISS in 2025?  

9 members have voted

  1. 1. Should funding be ended for the ISS in 2025?

    • No, the Deep Space Gateway should occur along side the ISS
      6
    • No, NASA should not build the Deep Space Gateway
      0
    • Yes, The ISS funds should be diverted to Deep Space Gateway
      3
    • Yes, there should be no further funding for the ISS or the Deep Space Gateway
      0


12 posts in this topic

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Waspie_Dwarf

OPINION: Ending ISS too soon would be an Apollo-sized mistake

Quote

It appears the Trump administration may look to end support for the International Space Station by 2025. This proposal, if approved by Congress, would be a huge mistake similar to that of ending the Apollo program in 1972.

First reported by The Verge’s Loren Grush, a draft budget proposal calls for ending U.S. funding for the ISS by 2025 to free up some $3 billion to $4 billion in the budget for the Trump administration’s plan to return U.S. astronauts to the Moon. The goal would be to transition low-Earth orbit activities to private industry.

arrow3.gif  Read More: Spaceflight Insider


 

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Waspie_Dwarf

Please feel free to chose an option in the poll.

I also, politely ask, to keep the tribal politics out of this. This subject can be debated without the off topic love/hate Obama/Trump (delete where applicable) issues being brought into play.

In a mature democracy it is perfectly acceptable to disagree with a policy of a party/politician you support (or vice versa).

Please let's just discuss this issue on it's merit without resorting to party politics.

Thank you.

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Waspie_Dwarf

For what it is worth here is my opinion on the issue.

I pretty much agree with the article. I think moving towards handing over the ISS to private ownership is not a bad move, but it should not be rushed.

Ending NASA's support of the ISS to quickly will reflect badly on the US with it's international partners. The Deep Space Gateway and future lnar and martian exploration is going to be highly expensive and will almost certainly require international co-operation. If the USA makes itself look unreliable this could make so future NASA endeavours more difficult. The USA may be the senior partner in the ISS but it is still a partner.

There are also likely to be repercussions for the fledgling private companies offering transport to orbit.SpaceX and Orbital have both successfully launched cargo to the ISS for NASA on a commercial contract, Sierra Nevada Corp is due to do the same in the near future. Boeing and SpaceX are going to be launching astronauts for NASA on a commercial basis within the next year. If the ISS is allowed to have a sensible transition to privatisation then these companies will be competing for such contracts from the private companies which will take over the ISS. They will continue to flourish and the USA will have a massive lead in the commercialisation of space. If, however, the plug is pulled on NASA funding too soon then there may be no contracts to support these companies. No doubt they will survive, as they do not depend on the ISS, but they will suffer.

At the moment the USA has a destination to send it's astronauts to but no spacecraft to send them there. If the plug is pulled too soon on the ISS they will have spacecraft to launch their astronauts, but nowhere to send them to.

 

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Saru

It just seems a tremendous waste to me to discontinue the ISS while it is still operational and in good, working condition. There are so many things that can't be achieved anywhere else and this is likely to still be the case even after the Deep Space Gateway is completed.

Unless it has been badly damaged or rendered obsolete, the ISS should still be maintained IMO.

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and then

The ISS could be used to bring more private sector funding into these efforts.  Lease or sell the station to entrepreneurs with deep pockets for private/public research that will benefit both and will help move humans further along the path to deep space manned exploration.  If we have a future, it will be out there, IMO.

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Waspie_Dwarf
7 minutes ago, and then said:

The ISS could be used to bring more private sector funding into these efforts.  Lease or sell the station to entrepreneurs with deep pockets for private/public research that will benefit both and will help move humans further along the path to deep space manned exploration.  If we have a future, it will be out there, IMO.

That's the eventual goal. The question is whether NASA funding is ended too soon to make this a viable proposition.

The main objective of the Commercial Crew Program is to, once again, be able to launch NASA astronauts from US soil. The secondary purpose is to kick start commercial non-NASA crewed flights. It will take time for this to become commercially viable however. If the funding is ended on the ISS too soon they SpaceX Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Starliner may not have time to mature as commercial propositions.

The irony is, as I see it, that privatising the ISS too soon may actually slow the commercialisation of space. As the the article says:

Quote
Ending funding for the sole destination in LEO before industry can take over at least partially would be self defeating as it removes a viable near-term business model to sustain itself while building up bigger, expanded business cases that could help NASA with expanding beyond low-Earth orbit with public-private partnerships like the Trump administration wants to do. Industry won’t be ready by 2025, but they might be by 2028.
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Grandpa Greenman

They could turn it into Hotel, the Russians seem to be on board with that.  They have already leased their side a few times to some fat cats. Even if it was turned over to privatization they are still going to have to have some kind of government oversee for safety's sake.  I think keep under control of NASA and rent time on it to private companies. 

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Derek Willis

I am not asking this question in a negative way, but so far what commercial applications have resulted from research done on the ISS? I am not saying there are none, I just don't know what they are. Also, if anyone can provide any examples, could they also come up with some figures?

I should point out that I am in no way against fundamental research that doesn't necessarily directly lead to commercial applications. For example, I am all for the research carried out at CERN, even though there is unlikely ever to be any application of the discovery of the Higgs boson.

I pretty much agree with Waspie's opinion, i.e. there is nothing fundamentally wrong in handing over the ISS to commercial operators, but the transition would have to be managed in a way that doesn't affect the role of the ISS and the operators who launch crews and supplies.

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Almighty Evan
17 hours ago, Derek Willis said:

I am not asking this question in a negative way, but so far what commercial applications have resulted from research done on the ISS? I am not saying there are none, I just don't know what they are. Also, if anyone can provide any examples, could they also come up with some figures?

FWIW... https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/national_lab_enables_research

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Merc14

Hasn't the plan been to move on from ISS in 2025 for a while now?   Most of the station will be 30 years old by then and that is a lot of wear and tear so not sure how much longer habitation onboard ISS will be possible.  That said, I believe gradually turning it over to commercial entrepreneurs for a decade or so, if viable, is a great idea but we absolutely have to have the gateway in space.

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Waspie_Dwarf
5 hours ago, Merc14 said:

Hasn't the plan been to move on from ISS in 2025 for a while now?

No, there have been no firm plans after 2024. The Russians were keen (as was NASA) the extend it's life until 2028.

One of the problems that I see with the privatisation plan is the fact that any companies wishing to take over the running are going to be committing a lot of money for a station which may only have 3 years of life left. It would seem to make more sense for them to wait until companies like Bigelow have orbited their private space stations.

De-funding the ISS may well bring about it's premature demise. We currently have a NASA which has a destination but no spacecraft to reach it. The Deep Space Gateway is almost certainly not going to be ready in 2025, so NASA will then have spacecraft with no destination to reach. It just seems to me to be repeating the same old mistakes of ending one NASA programme before anther is ready (firstly Apollo to space shuttle then space shuttle to Commercial Crew and Orion/SLS).

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Merc14
2 hours ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

No, there have been no firm plans after 2024. The Russians were keen (as was NASA) the extend it's life until 2028.

OK thanks.

2 hours ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

One of the problems that I see with the privatisation plan is the fact that any companies wishing to take over the running are going to be committing a lot of money for a station which may only have 3 years of life left. It would seem to make more sense for them to wait until companies like Bigelow have orbited their private space stations.

I agree and had the same thought.  Nothing about ISS is cheap and a commercial enterprise may want a longer term payback for the money invested.  I believe any business, or businesses more likely, would necessarily make sure to have a good idea of the condition of ISS before agreeing to take it over.  Obviously it is nearing 30 years of age but many of the modules are much younger so possibly deorbiting and replacing irreparable modules could be a way forward. 

2 hours ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

De-funding the ISS may well bring about it's premature demise. We currently have a NASA which has a destination but no spacecraft to reach it. The Deep Space Gateway is almost certainly not going to be ready in 2025, so NASA will then have spacecraft with no destination to reach. It just seems to me to be repeating the same old mistakes of ending one NASA programme before anther is ready (firstly Apollo to space shuttle then space shuttle to Commercial Crew and Orion/SLS).

Hopefully there is more to the plan for the SLS than simply servicing a space station.  If that is all NASA is thinking then it would be a colossal waste of money when commercial providers can do the same thing at a fraction of the cost.  SLS has cost a whopping $26B so far just on SLS and there are billions more to go before it reaches full maturity so NASA better have a better plan for it than simply supplying the SG.

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