Bigelow Aerospace is in discussions with NASA about extended use of an experimental module added to the International Space Station last year, but both the company and the space agency say no agreement has been reached yet.
NASA is proposing to purchase, through Boeing, additional Soyuz seats for International Space Station missions to both take advantage of Russian plans to decrease the size of its crew and as insurance against potential additional commercial crew delays.
NASA announced Nov. 28 it was formally ending a mission of an instrument on the International Space Station that malfunctioned earlier this year, a setback in the agency’s efforts to use the station as an Earth sciences platform.
As he prepares to leave office, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said that the agency’s relationship with its Russian counterpart remains strong despite continued, broader geopolitical tensions.
Criticism by one NASA advisory committee of SpaceX’s plans to conduct commercial crew missions has also raised questions about the roles and responsibilities of those advisory committees.
The European Space Agency will ask its 22 member governments in December for a multi-year financial commitment of around 11 billion euros ($12.2 billion) including a billion-euro telecommunications research effort to be conducted in partnership with the private sector and around 1.4 billion euros in new Earth observation missions, ESA Director-General Jan Woerner said Nov. 7.
NASA will move ahead later this year with plans to offer a docking port and other resources to companies interested in adding a commercial module to the International Space Station, NASA and the White House said Oct. 11.
Roscosmos officials said Sept. 26 they planned to reduce the size of their crew on the International Space Station next year from three to two.
An anticipated decision by Russia’s space agency to temporarily reduce the size of its crew on the International Space Station should not have a major effect on NASA’s operations there, an agency official said.
A bipartisan NASA authorization bill introduced by several senators Sept. 15 would require NASA to evaluate alternatives to its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) and develop a plan to transition activities currently performed on the International Space Station to commercial platforms.
The first launch of an Orbital ATK Antares rocket with a new first stage engine is now planned for early October, a company official said Sept. 13.
SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft is headed back to Earth from the International Space Station Aug. 26 with more than a ton of experiments and cargo bound for splashdown, including 12 mice.