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Bigelow Launching New Company To Sell Private Space Stations

Bigelow Launching New Company To Sell Private Space Stations

hyperclocker shares a report from Popular Mechanics: The future of spacecraft in lower Earth orbit (LEO) looks to be an increasingly commercial affair. Bigelow Aerospace, a Las Vegas-based company that builds livable space habitats, has now created a spinoff company known as Bigelow Space Operations (BSO). BSO will market and operate any space habitats that Bigelow sells. The creation of BSO signals that Bigelow is preparing for a future of commercial space living. Recently leaked NASA documents show that the Trump Administration wants to convert the International Space Station into a commercial venture, and BSO is betting that businesses including private scientific ventures and hotels will be interested in creating a profit above the Earth. A prototype Bigelow habitat, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), has been connected to the ISS since 2016. It’s proven such a successful addition that last year NASA extended its contract for an additional three years. But Bigelow is thinking past the BEAM. In its press release announcing BSO, it highlights its planned launches of the B330-1 and B330-2, spacecraft with 6-person capacity, in 2021.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, iss
The Trump Administration is Moving To Privatize the International Space Station: Report

The Trump Administration is Moving To Privatize the International Space Station: Report

The Trump administration is planning to privatize the international space station instead of simply decommissioning the orbiting international experiment in 2024, The Washington Post reports. From a report: According to a document obtained by the Post, the current administration is mulling handing the International Space Station off to private industry instead of de-orbiting it as NASA “will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit.” The Post also reported that the administration was looking to request $150 million in fiscal year 2019 “to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial successors to the ISS — potentially including elements of the ISS — are operational when they are needed.” The U.S. government has already spent roughly $100 billion to build and operate the space station as part of an international coalition that also includes the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the Russian Space Agency.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, iss
No One Knows What To Do With the International Space Station

No One Knows What To Do With the International Space Station

An anonymous reader shares a report: In 2024 the clock will run out on the International Space Station. Maybe. That’s the arbitrary deadline that Congress imposed back in 2014, at which point they’ll have to decide whether or not to keep funding the ISS. And yeah, that’s a whole seven years away. But then again…it’s only seven years away. The ISS takes up half of NASA’s human exploration budget — half of the pile of money allotted for things like sending humans to Mars or to an asteroid. And if they want to push further into space exploration, NASA can’t keep sinking three to four billion dollars a year into the ISS. Not that it’s really their decision. Congress — specifically the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology — decides how much money NASA will get. And because politicians aren’t experts in space travel, they keep holding hearings to discuss what they could possibly do with the ISS in seven years’ time. Let private industry take it over? Let it crash and burn into the South Pacific? Let the program keep running? The latest hearing took place last week. These are hard questions, in part because people have very different opinions on what’s valuable about NASA, and therefore about whether the ISS is still useful. Maybe you think that NASA should really be about exploration, about pushing the boundaries of what we know and where we can travel. In that case, the ISS might not be your first priority. That’s a huge chunk of the budget that goes toward bringing things back and forth to low Earth orbit instead of venturing to other planets.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, iss
17-Year-Old Corrects NASA Mistake In Data From The ISS

17-Year-Old Corrects NASA Mistake In Data From The ISS

“A British teenager has contacted scientists at NASA to point out an error in a set of their own data,” writes the BBC. An anonymous reader quotes their report.

A-level student Miles Soloman found that radiation sensors on the International Space Station (ISS) were recording false data… The correction was said to be “appreciated” by NASA, which invited him to help analyse the problem… The research was part of the TimPix project from the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS), which gives students across the UK the chance to work on data from the space station, looking for anomalies and patterns that might lead to further discoveries. What Miles had noticed was that when nothing hit the detector, a negative reading was being recorded. But you cannot get negative energy… It turned out that Miles had noticed something no-one else had — including the NASA experts. NASA said it was aware of the error, but believed it was only happening once or twice a year. Miles had found it was actually happening multiple times a day.

There’s a video of the student — and his teacher — describing the discovery, a story which Miles says his friends at high school listen to with “a mixture of jealousy and boredom”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, iss