The International Space Station (ISS), whose first module was launched in 1998 from Kazakhstan, has served as a orbiting home for the cosmonauts and astronauts since more than 18 years.
Over the years, NASA, along with its other overseas partners, has invested over $100bn to turn the space station into a reality. However, as the space agency sets its goal of landing more people on the moon, the aging ISS is now becoming a financial burden.
Therefore, to deal with this problem, NASA has come up with a cost-effective idea of turning over the ISS to private sector. NASA had held a press event a couple of weeks ago in NYC where it announced about offering the ISS to commercial opportunities which will in turn enable the space agency to concentrate its resources on landing the next man and first woman on moon by the year 2024.
However, when questioned about the amount of revenue that could be drawn from commercialization of the ISS, the officials of NASA did not provide any figure saying that there was a lot of uncertainty.
According to ex-deputy administrator of NASA Dava Newman, the ISS has less than 10 years of lifespan and with time is running out, there’s a need to come up with a strategic plan for the space station’s end. There may be a few ISS components which the private sector could be able to take over, but eventually its big elements will have to crash back to the planet, she says.