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ISS a waste of time and money?

Posted by: beancounter - Mon Dec 12, 2005 3:34 am
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ISS a waste of time and money? 
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Space Station Commander
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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:53 pm
The problem of ISS is its lengthy construction schedule which exists as a direct result of indadequate Launch Vehicle size.

Four or five Energiya-Polyus type payloads and it would have been done--proving how valid the mega-module approach is after all..

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Post    Posted on: Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:52 pm
This article suggests that Griffin is moving NASA to a position where it can give a half complete ISS to the rest of the international partners and wash its hands of the whole project.

I dont think that that is the case, at least I hope it isnt. If that were to happen I think the chances of any foreign space agencies working with the US on large projects in the future is zero.

I think that no matter how much NASA would like to dump the project because of finances that wont happen (not because Bush said that the US will honour its international commitment:- he is a politician after all), the political fallout would be huge and affect NASA for years, maybe even decades.

I think the only reasonable solution to avoid shuttle flights would be to seek alternative launch methods, possibly using an attached external unit to manouvre it into position. Didn't NASA start developing a robot unit to deorbit Hubble, perhaps this work could be adapted.

Even something like a modified satellite station keeping ion engine might be able to be used, didn't they recently change to orbit of a satelitte using its ion drive as it had been placed at to lower altitude? SMART-1 managed to change its orbit all the way to the moon so why not do something similar with ISS modules?

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:12 am
Since I don't know at the moment if what the thread was where the idea is discussed that NASA might give up the ISS and where that thread is located but what has to be said seems to fit into this thread as well.

The article "NASA Details Plan to Open ISS for Outside Use" ( ) clarifies NASA's doings regarding the ISS a bit:
NASA's restructuring in recent years, which shifted away from earlier ISS science efforts to a more focused exploration program to support the planned return of astronauts to the Moon, led to the surplus of science time available aboard the station, space agency officials said.

The ISS might be kept working even longer than planned up to now:

The level of interest among non-NASA agencies to use the ISS could ultimately decide how long the space station remains in operation beyond its current 2016 design lifetime, they added.

"Technically, the space station could fly to 2020 or 2022," Gerstenmaier said, adding that a decision on whether to extend the station's lifetime would have to be made around 2014. "What really drives the practical lifetime of the space station is how useful it is and does it fit a niche."

In principle NASA doesn't give up the ISS but move the ressources to others which also means a move of parts of the costs to others.

While NASA would continue to assume the current operational and maintenance costs of the ISS, as well as those to launch astronaut crews and cargo, national laboratory users would be responsible for the cost of their payloads and research under the current plan. The anticipated cost of NASA's ISS operations once the station is complete is estimated at about $1.5 billion per year, Gerstenmaier said.

The space agency is also relying on the anticipated availability of private launch services to the ISS, such as those sponsored by NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, as well as the station's planned expansion to a six-person crew in 2009 to maintain the orbital laboratory.

This also may mean that the COTS-companies are meant to support the non-NASA-users.

There seems to be a concept in it all and what has been mentioned, criticized and discussed in this thread up to now may have to be rethought under these aspects.

Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)

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