Showing posts with label ISS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ISS. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

International Space Station gets a reprieve.

The Obama administration had been planning to "deorbit", aka destroy, the ISS as soon as 2020.  They just announced intention to keep it going until 2024.  This is just intention, they don't have funding passed thru Congress yet.   But they probably will be able to get the funding. 
   Seeing as how they only got the ISS fully functional last year, it makes sense to operate it for a while.  It cost $100 billion to put it up there.  Planning was of the "if you build it they will come" type.  Result, nobody is using it much.  But the kind of things you can do in the ISS  takes time to set up and do, time being years.  Lot of things will get  started now that it looks like the ISS will be aloft long enough to do them. 
  Cost to keep it running is $3 billion a year.  It needs a steady launch of supply vehicles bringing up food, water, air, science experiments.  It also needs the occasional push.  It flies so low that there is still some air drag to slow it down.  The shuttle missions used to burn some fuel to push the ISS up to compensate for the drag.  Now that the shuttle is retired, they will have to do it some other way. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

So what do you do with an International Space Station?

Now that we have one.  Serious money was put into it.  Now it is up there with not much to do.  The earth imaging mission is handled by recon satellites good enough to spot a cigarette pack lying on the ground.  The astronomy mission is well in hand at Hubble.  They aren't enough tourists with money to make an orbital tourist hotel work.
  According to Aviation Week, they have space to spare for more scientists and experiments.  The only work on going is "micro gravity" (we used to call it weightlessness) what ever that means.  Could it be that the best part of ISS was the "International" part of the name.  That helped mightily at funding time.