Author Topic: Biden-Harris Administration Extends Space Station Operations Through 2030  (Read 27431 times)

Offline pk67

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Thanks for the answer. In fact, when I wrote about the vac raptor, I didn't mean a full-size raptor optimized for thrust and high ISP.
I was thinking about something smaller based on the experience that the designers gained with the raptor.
More precisely, I meant that the separation of the ISS part from the Russian propulsion module opens a new field for constructors and a new field for gaining experience during the implementation of a very practical task, which is maintaining the ISS in orbit, or changing the orbit parameters.
Perhaps such a third stage could be powered by liquid hydrogen? Perhaps a full-size raptor would be more suitable for a second stage drive?
In general, I would like to note that the new geopolitical situation opens up new areas of possibilities for operation in space, both in peaceful and military applications.

An interesting area of ​​activity for constructors seems to be the development of cheap economic anti-satellite weapons and the export of these weapons to countries threatened by aggression from the superpower. The risk of losing a large fleet of satellites belonging to an aggressor in conflict with a much weaker and virtually helpless enemy would be a strong deterrent without the need to resort to nuclear weapons.

In this context, keeping the ISS in orbit would only be part of a broader earth-peace program reminiscent of the R. Reagan "star wars" program.

The proliferation of economic anti-satellite weapons to countries threatened by or already suffering from aggression is not as dangerous as the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

For example, if Syrian insurgents had access to such cheap anti-satellite weapons, then for Russia to intervene in this country and support the dictator's regime would be a much more costly and risky task.

Launching such weapons into orbit with economic reusable rockets on the one hand would be a practical business much more needed by mankind now than orbital tourism. Of course, if any of the countries that have anti-satellite weapons were ready to resell these weapons, opening a new market. On the other hand, in the context of recent world events, it seems that this would be a very strong argument for refraining from unjustified use of armed force by a power with a large and expensive satellite fleet, which would be conducive to maintaining peace in the world.

In this thread, I do not want to open a discussion on other topics related to access to space, but not directly related to the maintenance of the ISS in orbit. However, it is difficult for me to express my own opinion on the functioning of the ISS without referring to the broader geopolitical context and the context of human activity in space.
In the context of the dramatic events of recent days, it can be seen that the US was not prepared for an abrupt end to cooperation with Russia in space.
US-Russian cooperation in orbit, which until now has been perceived by the people as an element of development in partnership and in peace, now turns out to be part of the Russian camouflage of its imperial and hostile goals. In short, the ISS is a tool of Russian propaganda - readiness to cooperate with the US.
By suggesting the EU to abandon its dependence on Russian energy resources, the US itself forgot about its own dependence on Russia while keeping the ISS functioning.
Working with Russia in any field at present will be as shameful for the US as working with Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.

Offline yg1968

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Bridenstine supports the extension of the ISS to 2030:
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1506252656897142792

Offline yg1968

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Offline yg1968

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Quote from: Marcia Smith
Q-instead of deorbiting ISS keep it as World Heritage Site?
Lueders-we've studied boosting it to higher orbit, would take 30-40 Progresses! Wish cld keep forever but fighting laws of physics. It's huge. Lots of drag. Can't leave it there as hazard.

https://twitter.com/SpcPlcyOnline/status/1580567543760433157

Offline AS_501

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"...would take 30-40 Progresses"  I'll bet someone in Space-X took that comment as a challenge.
Form a purely engineering perspective, how long could the ISS survive as a functioning spacecraft in the space environment even if it could be boosted to a higher orbit.  Perhaps there is an NSF thread about this?  Thx
Launches attended:  Apollo 11, ASTP (@KSC, not Baikonur!), STS-41G, STS-125, EFT-1, Starlink G4-24, Artemis 1
Notable Spacecraft Observed:  Echo 1, Skylab/S-II, Salyuts 6&7, Mir Core/Complete, HST, ISS Zarya/Present, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, Dragon Demo-2, Starlink G4-14 (8 hrs. post-launch), Tiangong

Offline yg1968

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Quote from: Katya Pavlushchenko
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed an order which allows #Roscosmos to begin the works on sending cosmonauts and cargo to the ISS in 2023-2027. Which means, Russia decided to stay on the ISS despite all the previous statements and “warnings on its bad technical condition”.

https://twitter.com/katlinegrey/status/1585516274016305152

Offline yg1968

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Offline Rondaz

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Japan to extend involvement with ISS to 2030, send astronaut to Moon-orbiting station.

A possibility for a Japanese astronaut to land on the Moon is to be determined through consultations in the future.

17 NOV, 22:10

TOKYO, November 18. /TASS/. Japan plans to extend its involvement with the International Space Station until 2030 and send an astronaut to a future US-led Moon-orbiting station, Keiko Nagaoka, Japan’s minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, said on Friday, the Kyodo news service reported.

She made the statement, which makes Japan the first country to support the US decision to extend the operation of the US segment of the ISS to 2030, during an online meeting with Bill Nelson, the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Roscosmos Executive Director Sergey Krikalyov has said the future of the orbital outpost remains unclear but talks are underway to extend its operation after 2024. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov said earlier that Russia considered it possible to operate the station until 2028.

Nagaoka and Nelson signed an agreement during their online meeting to send a Japanese astronaut to Gateway, a US-led lunar-orbiting space station to be built by the end of 2028. In exchange, Tokyo will provide logistic transport to the station.

A possibility for a Japanese astronaut to land on the Moon is to be determined through consultations in the future.

https://tass.com/science/1538635

Offline Hog

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"...would take 30-40 Progresses"  I'll bet someone in Space-X took that comment as a challenge.
Form a purely engineering perspective, how long could the ISS survive as a functioning spacecraft in the space environment even if it could be boosted to a higher orbit.  Perhaps there is an NSF thread about this?  Thx
How much MMH/MON-can you stuff on a StarShip?  Or just berth a Starship with ISS and light a Raptor.
Paul

Offline Redclaws

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"...would take 30-40 Progresses"  I'll bet someone in Space-X took that comment as a challenge.
Form a purely engineering perspective, how long could the ISS survive as a functioning spacecraft in the space environment even if it could be boosted to a higher orbit.  Perhaps there is an NSF thread about this?  Thx
How much MMH/MON-can you stuff on a StarShip?  Or just berth a Starship with ISS and light a Raptor.

Probably some issues with thrust and load there.

Offline yg1968

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Quote from: ESA
Ministers decided to extend European participation in the International Space Station up to 2030, enabling ESA astronauts to continue working in orbit around Earth on board Europe’s Columbus research laboratory.

https://www.esa.int/About_Us/Corporate_news/Ministers_back_ESA_s_bold_ambitions_for_space_with_record_17_rise

https://twitter.com/esa/status/1595435571375120389
« Last Edit: 11/23/2022 02:45 pm by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Johnson Space Center is soliciting interest re: 'International Space Station Deorbit Capability'. See: https://sam.gov/opp/88ba9920f5684d06aacfd7c416d3d510/view

https://twitter.com/NASAProcurement/status/1597427700523737088
« Last Edit: 03/25/2023 02:53 am by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Canada Commits to ISS Through 2030 As Biden Highlights Artemis Cooperation: https://spacepolicyonline.com/news/canada-commits-to-iss-through-2030-as-biden-highlights-artemis-cooperation/

https://twitter.com/SpcPlcyOnline/status/1639461413096759302

Quote from: Bill Nelson
Today, Canada announced its commitment to extend its participation on the @Space_Station through 2030.

NASA is proud to continue our partnership with @csa_asc on station to benefit life for humanity here on Earth and out into the cosmos.

https://twitter.com/SenBillNelson/status/1639422846253559810
« Last Edit: 03/25/2023 02:56 am by yg1968 »

Offline DanClemmensen

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This sounds stupid of me, but what does "through 2030" mean in a NASA blog? Does it mean that the last astronaut doing "operations" will leave the ISS NET December 31, 2030? Or is there a different definition of 2030, such as FY 2030, or a different definition of "operations" taht included all of the time prior to ISS deorbiting?

This becomes interesting because the 14 remaining contracted CCP missions (6 Starliner, 8 Crew Dragon) don't quite stretch to December 2030 at the current average mission duration.

Offline John_Marshall

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This sounds stupid of me, but what does "through 2030" mean in a NASA blog? Does it mean that the last astronaut doing "operations" will leave the ISS NET December 31, 2030? Or is there a different definition of 2030, such as FY 2030, or a different definition of "operations" taht included all of the time prior to ISS deorbiting?

This becomes interesting because the 14 remaining contracted CCP missions (6 Starliner, 8 Crew Dragon) don't quite stretch to December 2030 at the current average mission duration.

I'm pretty sure I read a while back that the last astronauts would have be off ISS maybe in the fall of 2030-ish because of orbit decay and that ISS would be deorbited sometime over the winter of 2030/2031.

Offline AS_501

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So what happens in the last few years before deorbit if ISS suffers a major failure such as a frozen SARJ or a ammonia leak?  Does NASA order a repair EVA(s), or call the final crew home early?  Also, does it make sense to salvage some of specialized research equipment such as MELFI and CAL?
Launches attended:  Apollo 11, ASTP (@KSC, not Baikonur!), STS-41G, STS-125, EFT-1, Starlink G4-24, Artemis 1
Notable Spacecraft Observed:  Echo 1, Skylab/S-II, Salyuts 6&7, Mir Core/Complete, HST, ISS Zarya/Present, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, Dragon Demo-2, Starlink G4-14 (8 hrs. post-launch), Tiangong

Offline Cherokee43v6

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So what happens in the last few years before deorbit if ISS suffers a major failure such as a frozen SARJ or a ammonia leak?  Does NASA order a repair EVA(s), or call the final crew home early?  Also, does it make sense to salvage some of specialized research equipment such as MELFI and CAL?

I think that, in part, will depend on the status of the Axiom build-out.  If Axiom is ready to detach and take up independent orbit, then there would be a transfer of any transitioning experiments and/or equipment and a deorbit.

On the other hand, if Axiom is not yet ready, then repairs would be performed to maintain the station until Axiom is ready for detachment.
"I didn't open the can of worms...
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Offline AS_501

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Interesting item in today's SN article about the NASA's RFP for a Deorbit Module.  The RFP includes language for a possible contract extension to Sept. 2035.  Curious.  Everything I've read so far says NASA is insisting the deorbit take place in late 2030, possibly Q1 of 2031.  How does an extension to 2035 affect the Axiom station?
https://spacenews.com/nasa-proposals-hybrid-contract-approach-for-space-station-deorbit-vehicle/
Launches attended:  Apollo 11, ASTP (@KSC, not Baikonur!), STS-41G, STS-125, EFT-1, Starlink G4-24, Artemis 1
Notable Spacecraft Observed:  Echo 1, Skylab/S-II, Salyuts 6&7, Mir Core/Complete, HST, ISS Zarya/Present, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, Dragon Demo-2, Starlink G4-14 (8 hrs. post-launch), Tiangong

Offline gemmy0I

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Interesting item in today's SN article about the NASA's RFP for a Deorbit Module.  The RFP includes language for a possible contract extension to Sept. 2035.  Curious.  Everything I've read so far says NASA is insisting the deorbit take place in late 2030, possibly Q1 of 2031.  How does an extension to 2035 affect the Axiom station?
https://spacenews.com/nasa-proposals-hybrid-contract-approach-for-space-station-deorbit-vehicle/
It's interesting to see this come out, as I was just thinking the other day that something like this might be exactly what Axiom is hoping for in their "best case scenario". :)

The interesting thing about the Axiom segment is that the more fully developed it gets, the more it takes the existing ISS modules off the "critical path" in terms of functionally relying on them to keep the station going for years to come. Right now, the shortest straw seems to be Zvezda, which happens to be both the most crucial module on the station, and also the one that's seen the most wear-and-tear and will need the sketchiest "band-aids" to keep going. But as soon as the first Axiom module has docked, the station will have a second self-contained service module capable of providing reboosts, attitude control, etc. if Zvezda were to one day fail or be deemed at the end of its useful life.

As more Axiom modules are added, especially the "Power Tower" which provides the full-strength independent power generation and CMG authority to allow Axiom Segment to detach and become a free-flying station, another option comes onto the table: simply keep the aging ISS modules around as a public-private annex to Axiom Station. Even as the old modules' systems are gradually shut down, Axiom could continue using them for e.g. storage, like BEAM (and to a large extent Zarya) is used now.

Axiom has already expressed a clear interest in "buying up" the "best of" the old ISS modules, starting with the Raffaello MPLM which they've bought out of ground storage and will be launching as one of the early Axiom Segment modules. They clearly see themselves as in need of storage space, which makes sense when you consider that both of the world's currently operating space stations - ISS and Tiangong - are desperately short of places to stash pressurized cargo. (The ISS crew are constantly shuffling cargo in and out of the airlocks and PMAs since they have nowhere else to put it; and recent pictures of Tiangong show their newly-launched Mengtian module is already chock-full of cargo bags. They're even keeping the outgoing Tianzhou cargo ship in orbit as a free flier so it can re-dock to the station after the next crew shuffle and continue providing storage space!)

Given that Axiom has Mike Suffredini, former ISS program manager, running the show, they are probably better-informed about the current operating state and lifespan of the ISS modules than anyone outside of NASA and Roscosmos. I would be shocked if they didn't have an internal "shopping list" they've discussed with NASA of ISS modules they'd love to "adopt" before they detach. Leonardo (the other MPLM) is probably at the top of that list, since it's simple and easy to detach. I'd imagine most of the other USOS modules are in pretty good shape as well, and likely have a much longer viable lifespan than the old Russian modules. Frankly, I think if we were only talking about the USOS, continuing the station's operations through 2035 would probably be a no-brainer, especially with the recent upgrades to things like batteries and soar panels.

While NASA has to plan on a 2030/2031 ISS deorbit because they have to be prepared for the worst, they actually have every incentive to kick this MMOD-pockmarked assemblage of aluminum cans down the road as long as they can :), because their options only get better with each passing year. Right now Starship is far from something they can count on, so they can't even (openly) talk about the idea of detaching modules piecemeal and bringing them home for the Smithsonian. But they'd be fools not to consider the possibility that 5-10 years from now, we may be living in a world with very different commercial space capabilities than we are now. Much as the ISS was born of daring to dream what might be possible in a world where the Space Shuttle would be flying regularly, they should "prepare for success" to not be caught flat-footed in what comes next.

We can also consider this from the political/public-relations side. Congress has made it clear that they are very attached to the ISS, for a lot of reasons, and will likely be the last ones in the relationship to be willing to let it go. They've invested a lot in the ISS over the decades and have gotten very comfortable with it as a fixture of contractor/constituent relationships as well as public image for the U.S. space program. Now imagine the headlines if, after spending all that time, money, and effort to build humanity's most expensive construction, it all gets "thrown away" in a giant fireball over the Pacific. There's going to be public outcry over why it wasn't brought home for a museum, because the public, who isn't familiar with the technical difficulties, is going to ask the simple question: "If we could bring it up piecemeal in space shuttles, why can't we bring it down the same way?" And frankly, they wouldn't be entirely wrong. If we still had the Shuttle, we could do exactly that. Yes, it would be expensive and complicated, but it's actually a great engineering "driving problem" to advance the state of the art in space (dis-)assembly techniques, just as the unexpected Hubble repairs were, and the ongoing ISS upgrades continue to be. The "only" reason we haven't been able to even consider the possibility for years is because we didn't have a Shuttle any more - and still don't have a replacement. That will change as soon as Starship is flying regularly, as it's exactly the Shuttle successor we hoped for and "deserved" for years. Especially with the cost reductions of fully-reusable launch, it becomes hard to justify not bringing home at least some of the ISS modules. And if you're going to do that, it makes sense to just leave the whole thing attached to Axiom Station to provide a work platform for all the EVAs and robotics work of that gradual disassembly.

I think this is a win-win-win for Axiom, NASA, and the politicians/general public. Axiom gets to keep the "best" ISS modules and use them as part of their station for as long as they remain useful - probably as part of an arrangement where they lease/barter them with NASA in exchange for "free" long-term expedition slots by NASA crew on their station. NASA could continue running their existing experiments from their existing modules, and gradually "move in" to Axiom's newer and better facilities at their own pace. The politicians get to keep their "baby" going as long as possible and never have to be responsible for a "drop-dead date" since the transition happens gradually at a level below their proverbial pay grade. Ultimately, the engineers at NASA and Axiom end up with the freedom to make engineering - rather than political - decisions about when and how to bring home each of the old modules, knowing that they aren't going to fall out of the sky and crash on some city as long as they're attached to the modern Axiom Station that provides reboosts and attitude control for the whole complex. And last but not least, the public gets to ooh and aah as every couple years, a new module arrives in the Smithsonian (or similar institution) to extend the life-sized display of a "real space-flown space station", showing them exactly what their tax dollars bought and why it was well worth it - and knowing that the work it began continues in the skies above, just as the Shuttle museum displays can now point to the ISS as the living embodiment of their historical contribution. (Whether it would be preferable to display the whole thing in its assembled configuration, or to split up the international modules like Columbus and Kibo to go to museums in their respective homelands, would be something for the politicians to figure out. :) )

I should note that I'm speaking here mostly of the USOS modules, since they're likely to remain in good enough shape to operate for a while as an Axiom Station annex and to be brought safely home. The Russian segment is less clear, both on technical and political grounds. If the ISS remains attached to Axiom Station past 2030, it may make sense to "passivate" Zvezda, Zarya, and Nauka's propulsion systems to reduce the likelihood of them becoming a hazard as they continue to degrade. The RS modules should remain quite usable as BEAM/Leonardo-style "storage modules" even if (like BEAM today) they have to be sealed behind a closed hatch for leakage concerns except when crew are going in to fetch stuff. That said, at some point they will need to be detached if there is a desire to bring home "core" USOS modules like Destiny and Harmony. Whether the RS modules could be brought home in Starships (and perhaps returned to Russia to take their place in a museum there) probably depends a lot on geopolitics and whether Russia is willing to spend money on it. They already threw away one station over the Pacific, so there'll probably be less public outcry over throwing away the RS modules than there would be in the US about splashing ours. (The fact that Russia never had an operational vehicle capable of bringing their modules home - Buran notwithstanding - and always intended them to be expended at end-of-life - makes a big difference in the PR factor, I think.) The biggest obstacle, I think, is that unless geopolitics changes drastically from where it is now, paying SpaceX to bring home the RS modules would be more politically toxic for the Russian government than simply disposing of them in a Mir-style Viking funeral. I could see, therefore, the RS segment (possibly including Unity) getting "splashed" by an expendable deorbit vehicle similar to what NASA is currently soliciting proposals for.

The other big challenge would be what to do about the truss structure and solar panels. That stuff surely can't be brought down for a museum, which means it has to be deorbited controllably. That's not so easy without keeping them attached to, at least, the Destiny module on which they're mounted. I wouldn't be surprised, therefore, if the decision is made to use a deorbit tug to splash Destiny and the truss structure along with Unity and the RS, while leaving the other USOS modules to be "cherry-picked" by Canadarm and transplanted to new berthing nodes on Axiom Station. Destiny is probably the most structurally-fatigued USOS module since it has to support the whole truss structure, so between that and its age, it is probably the least desirable (besides Unity) to retain long-term.

Tags: Russia ISS dragon 2 
 

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