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International Space Station Mission Extended To 2024 104

An anonymous reader writes with news that funding has been secured for the ISS through at least 2024. From NASA: "'...We are pleased to announce that the Obama Administration has approved an extension of the International Space Station until at least 2024. We are hopeful and optimistic that our ISS partners will join this extension effort and thus enable continuation of the groundbreaking research being conducted in this unique orbiting laboratory for at least another decade. ... A further benefit of ISS extension is it will give NASA and its private-sector partners time to more fully transition to the commercial space industry the transportation of cargo and crew to low-Earth-orbit, allowing NASA to continue to increase its focus on developing the next-generation heavy-lift rocket and crew capsule necessary for deep-space exploration."
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International Space Station Mission Extended To 2024

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  • Thanks Big O! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by east coast ( 590680 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @10:37AM (#45906219)
    Thanks for spending my money on something I actually can get behind instead of just spending it on tracking my phone calls, funding terrorist organizations and god knows what else.

    Maybe you can keep this up and we can have a real science budget in the USA.
  • by Teancum ( 67324 ) <[ten.orezten] [ta] [gninroh_trebor]> on Thursday January 09, 2014 @12:20PM (#45907123) Homepage Journal

    When does INL turn a profit? Los Alamos? Amundsen-Scott? Those are all major laboratories doing basic research. The ISS justifiably fits right in there with all of those facilities, and I"m glad that it is treated as such.

    Part of the problem is that the ISS really is incomplete to be able to support the personnel needed to make it really thrive as a research lab. It was supposed to have a crew of six astronauts on board full-time (that was the original design) where two of those astronauts would deal with station keeping duties (at least trading off the equivalent of two astronauts doing that work) while the other four would be doing basic research.

    That hasn't happened The TransHab module [] in particular is needed to provide additional berthing arrangements (aka sleeping quarters) for the astronauts or at least another lab module that can expand the occupancy as well as one of the other partners (either ESA or NASA) needs to develop another spacecraft to bring astronauts up and down. NASA is working on that [] so it is just a matter of time.

    Regardless, the ISS is doing some tremendous work right now, and it is disingenuous to suggest that spider webs are the only thing being studied. The number of experiments numbers in the hundreds that have already been completed. You can debate the merit of that research based upon the funding being done, but far less has been done with far more money in other endeavors of government activity. The entire ISS program, including all shuttle launches and training and all of the maintenance costs, is still less than the amount of money spent on air conditioning equipment used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

    As for private stations going into space and trying to duplicate the features of the ISS, I would bet that Robert Bigelow [] would be willing to help you out if you had a good idea and some funding sources to consider. I agree it would be done much cheaper by private industry, but it already is built... so do you really think it needs to be thrown away and splashed in the Pacific Ocean?

  • Re:Thanks Big O! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @12:29PM (#45907221)

    Most of the science that I hear about is about studying the effect of long term space flight so we can go to the Moon, Mars, etc.

    ... and even those studies are just a rehash of what was done on Mir and Skylab decades ago.

  • by Princeofcups ( 150855 ) <> on Thursday January 09, 2014 @01:44PM (#45908077) Homepage

    down the tubes.. or into the vacuum as the case may be. The ISS has no major accomplishments other than being a gravy train for aerospace contractors. Is there research going on up there that provides sufficient return to justify a cost of $8.2 million per day if it were not funded through tax dollars? Now that the station is being serviced commercially it is time to pull the plug. If IBM or Intel or Merck or Pfizer or whomever want a research lab in space let them form a consortium with Boeing et al and build one that suits their needs. And if they are really in love with the existing station, sell it to them and get some tax money back.

    This is going to be inflammatory, but I have good karma to burn.

    You sad sick fuck. The world is not beholden to the economic views of market capitalism. Science and knowledge expansion requires the expenditure of resources that are NOT tied up in making the elite more elite. It's your viewpoint that has destroyed what was once the greatest scientific community and left nothing but a corpse picked over by weasels and hyenas.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.