Commercial space stations represent the pinnacle of astronomy for many folks. The International Space Station has been in Earth’s orbit since 1998, but you know what they say that everything must come to an end. Even the ISS will retire one day, and NASA already has some plans for that moment.
According to Space.com, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said during the 36th Space Symposium that the space agency hopes that commercial space stations will be orbiting our planet when the International Space Station eventually retires.
Will commercial space flights begin in 2030?
Commercial labs will replace the ISS, NASA hopes. While the space station could retire as soon as 2024, Nelson expects the spacecraft to last until 2030.
Bill Nelson said, as quoted by Space.com:
Unfortunately, I believe we’re in a space race with China,
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.
The International Space Station has been through all sorts of exciting experiments. Astronomers even aim to detect cosmic radiation from the orbiting lab by using optical fibers. The Lumina experiment is the one in question, and it’s part of the ALPHA mission, as detailed by Phys.org. The project also implies the participation of CERN, the French Space Agency, and CNES.
The ISS is a multinational collaborative project that involves a number of five participating space agencies: NASA from the US, ESA from Europe, JAXA from Japan, Roscosmos from Russia, and CSA from Canada.