Proposals to develop commercial space stations in low Earth orbit that could serve as successors to the International Space Station face both an uncertain regulatory environment and questions about their economic viability, according to both those planning such stations and those who might regulate them.
If humanity ever wants to send people to any deep-space destination in the solar system at any price, let alone one the nation or world can afford, we must be prepared to take risks and lose astronauts.
NASA officials, to their credit, and despite catcalls from the outside, are not rushing into a plan — instead they are developing what they call an “evolvable Mars campaign.”
More than a year after the National Research Council (NRC) completed a report outlining different approaches to human space exploration, NASA’s advisers are asking the space agency to provide a formal response.
A new report concludes that public-private partnerships, like those NASA has used in its commercial cargo and crew programs, could return humans to the moon for as little as $10 billion and within seven years.
In the 1990s, NASA’s Faster, Better, Cheaper mantra almost drove the U.S. robotic Mars exploration program into oblivion. And the recent drumbeat from “boots on Mars” advocates appears to have human spaceflight headed toward the same end circa 2033, if not sooner.
While NASA does not yet have specific plans for human missions beyond 2021, the agency is in the early stages of developing a sequence of missions in cislunar space in the 2020s to prepare for later missions to Mars
Draper Laboratory is getting a fresh $250,000 from NASA to test gravity-imitating spacesuit technology on a commercial parabolic research flight perhaps as soon as this fall.
The House Science Committee approved four bills on commercial space topics during a lengthy markup session May 13 marked by partisan divides on a number of issues.
While NASA argues there is a growing consensus that the agency’s long-term human spaceflight goal should be landing people on Mars, a recent conference suggested there is less agreement about exactly how NASA should accomplish that goal.
“O. Glenn Smith and Paul Spudis, two die-hard opponents of Mars exploration, recently chose to costume themselves as advocates in their Commentary ‘Mars for Only $1.5 Trillion,’ which is designed to make a feasible enterprise appear utterly ” argues Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin.
The Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2015, drafted by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), would mark the second time in the last three decades that Congress has directed NASA to support efforts for permanent human settlements beyond Earth orbit.
Members of an industry group that advises the U.S. government on commercial space matters are in broad agreement that export restrictions on commercial human spacecraft should be eased, but sharply disagreed at a recent meeting on how to seek those changes.
It is important not to reinvent the U.S. space program, especially concerning human missions to Mars. While everything is not perfect, we can’t afford another reset of national space policy when the next president takes office.