With the International Space Station set to retire by the end of the decade, NASA is already looking at options to turn the ISS into a private destination for future travelers.
According to CNBC, NASA is currently turning to companies to evaluate proposals on how to turn the ISS into a private space station that would potentially help them save more than $1 billion USD per year. Phil McAlister, NASA’s director of commercial spaceflight has confirmed that the agency has already “received roughly about a dozen proposals” from different companies, hoping to be contracted for the project. McAlister comments on the nature of the projects sharing, “We are making tangible progress on developing commercial space destinations where people can work, play and live.”
Earlier this year, NASA revealed that the Commercial LEO Destinations project which plans to award up to $400 million USD in total contracts to begin developing the private space station. Since the ISS is over two decades old and costs NASA $4 billion USD a year to maintain, NASA is looking for different avenues in which they can cut down costs. The space agency hopes to choose a winning contract by the end of the year. This is not the first time NASA has been open to working with external agencies for public-private partnerships to achieve its space goals.
As the ISS nears retirement, NASA has begun to put into place other options of use for the station. In one instance, NASA recently awarded Axiom Space with $140 million USD to build modules that are set to connect to the ISS. When the time comes for the ISS to retire, Axiom has confirmed plans to detach the modules and turn them into a free-flying space station.
In case you missed it, this NASA astronaut is set to break the record for the longest American spaceflight.
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