The International Space Station is expected to end its operations in 2024. However, a group from the U.S Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee came up with a plan in continuing the program until 2030. That’s six years, and it’s all thanks to a NASA 2019 authorization act.
By extending the ISS project through 2030, the legislation will help in growing the space economy and building a stronger leadership of the US in space, and also increasing the American competitiveness all around the world. There will also be more jobs and more opportunities. This comes from Ted Cruz, chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space.
One reason behind the motivation is probably the space station manufacturing ability. The NASA administrator will establish a low-Earth orbit program, a commercialization one, in order to encourage the best commercial use and development of space by the private entities in the US. This is what is written in one of the sections.
The act wants NASA to maintain a national microgravity laboratory in space, even after the mission is over.
All the other members who were in favor include subcommittee ranking member Kyrsten Sinema, Roger Wicker, Maria Cantwell, who are chair and ranking members of the larger science committee. The 2030 proposal was also included in the Space Frontier Act from the last year, and the Senate passes unanimously, but it did not pass the House.
But since the ISS project is an international one, the extension of it will depend on the commitment of the other partners from the laboratory. Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the European Space Agency are the ones that come with the funding. Every agency has to see which are the priorities of the budget when it comes to NASA’s wish to put humans on the moon again by 2024 because it is a program that also asks for international participation.