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NASA prepares goodbye to the ISS: the next space stations will be semi-private and will mix tourism and space exploration

International Space Space (ISS) has its ailments, and NASA is already preparing for a future in which this construction will be discontinued and replaced by other space stations.

The focus, however, will change with those future ISS replacements. NASA will invest about 400 million dollars, but has created a contest in which about a dozen private companies participate to build the substitute (or substitutes) for the ISS, which will not only be destined for space exploration, but also for space tourism.

It works for NASA to collaborate with private companies

NASA’s decision comes endorsed by the success of programs to replace the space shuttle. The so-called Commercial Crew Program has caused SpaceX and Boeing to develop their ships, and according to NASA that will mean savings of between 20,000 and 30,000 million dollars.

Now they have started the Commercial Destinations Development in LEO, a program in which it invites various private companies to propose the development and putting into low Earth orbit new space stations that will not be exclusive to space exploration and that according to those responsible for NASA will be “destinations where people can work, play and live“.

NASA has already received about a dozen proposals, and it is expected that before the end of the year choose between two and four of those proposals to distribute the 400 million dollars among the winners.

Phil McAlister, Director at NASA he commented surprised how “I can’t remember that we have ever received so many proposals in response to a contract announcement” of this type.

The ISS is expensive to maintain: NASA spends about $ 4 billion to keep it running, and now the idea is to come up with a model in which companies and private capital assume part of that cost.

McAlister stressed that NASA “will not need anything as large and capable” as the ISS, and although those future space stations “they could be very big, NASA will only pay for the part we need“.

Via | CNBC