Up until recently, the International Space Station was set to operate until 2024, but a group from the U.S Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee suggested a continuation of the program until the year 2030, according to a new NASA authorization act.
Ted Cruz, United States Senator, chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, said: “By extending the ISS through 2030, this legislation will help grow our already burgeoning space economy, fortifying the United States’ leadership in space, increasing American competitiveness around the world, and creating more jobs and opportunity here at home.”
Reason for the decision
One of the possible reasons behind this decision is the capability of in-space manufacturing of the station, which is a starting point for the future of the space industry and commerce. The act also implies that NASA should “maintain a national microgravity laboratory in space” even after the ISS will go out of service.
Some of the signatories of the act include subcommittee ranking member Kyrsten Sinema, D-ariz.; Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., chair and ranking member of the more numerous committee of science. The proposal of extension for the ISS’s service period was included in 2018’s Space Frontier Act too, and it was passed unanimously by the Senate but not by the House too.
As the name implies, the ISS is an international project and its extension will probably rely on the implication of the other collaborators effectively. Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the European Space Agency are the main sponsors of the project. Each agency must establish their priorities regarding budget as the fact that NASA’s working hard to put humans on the Moon in 2024 is a great resource consumer.