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What shall we do after ISS is deorbited or broken-up?

asked 2016-05-08 16:14:14 -0600

Gateway Guy gravatar image

Build another bigger space station? Launch Bigelow module clusters? Rent space from the Russians next space station? Rent space from the Chinese space station? Create a rotating spaceport - Space infrastructure?

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answered 2016-05-08 16:16:26 -0600

Gateway Guy gravatar image

Only the last option will give middle-class people a chance to visit space. Space infrastructure is what we need to move beyond small spacecraft and small habitation.

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answered 2016-05-08 22:35:35 -0600

Gateway Guy gravatar image

I like your answer Rob!

But I like our answer better - The answers are very similar, but our plan has a way to pay for it too, and that plan that includes a chance for 1000's of middle-class people to visit the spaceport: Trip tickets subsidized by a lottery.

I would like to hear your thoughts on the Gateway Spaceport project, a project that many JPL scientists, Caltech professors, and people from the space industry have been working on.

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answered 2016-08-24 19:23:43 -0600

jrobe gravatar image

updated 2016-08-24 19:24:05 -0600

The main problems I see with the lottery system is 1. People aren't going to support a lottery that might get them into space in 50 years after it's finally built. 2. The average joe just isn't qualified enough to go into space and fix anything that could go wrong on the way/while there.

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answered 2016-05-08 22:20:21 -0600

Rob Mueller gravatar image

updated 2016-05-09 05:48:29 -0600

The official NASA plan is to extend the lifetime of the ISS to 2024, although the Russians have threatened to leave the project in 2020.

After ISS is de-orbited, then there will be unique opportunity to create something new in Low Earth Orbit, but don't depend on NASA to do it. The current NASA plan says that NASA will go to the "proving ground" in cis-lunar space to test technologies and human life sciences for a mission to Mars (it would take about 6 months to get there). Most likely, astronauts would visit a returned asteroid boulder that will be placed into a lunar distant retrograde orbit (LDRO), which would have a small habitat located in LDRO to allow for deep space missions and testing. This plan may change with a new US administration but that is the official strategy today under the NASA Evolvable Mars Campaign (EMC).

In 2012 a group of students at the International Space University Summer Studies Program (SSP) proposed a compelling architecture called Operations and Service Infrastructure for Space (OASIS). https://isulibrary.isunet.e...

This space mission architecture called for the creation of a series of nodes that would have a spaceport for re-fueling spacecraft at each node, thereby enabling a solar system highway. The first node was proposed to be in LEO and would consist of an International Spaceport Authority - infrastructure for re-fueling spacecraft and housing astronauts and space tourists. This is planned to be a public private partnership which eventually spins off to become fully privatized. Similar port authority entities exist on Earth and have proven successful and profitable.

So to answer your question in one sentence: the follow on to ISS should be an International Spaceport operating in LEO to facilitate spacecraft re-fueling and provide shelter for astronauts. It would be the point of departure for solar system travel for all - just like an airport on Earth for inter-continental travel.

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Asked: 2016-05-08 16:14:14 -0600

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Last updated: May 09 '16