With the successful launch of Genesis II, Bigelow Aerospace presence in the heavens seems to be expanding (no pun intended) as they gear up to launch their next inflatable space station, Galaxy.
But while the NewSpace industry ponders the future aboard a commercial space station, NASA seems to be pondering a future without the International Space Station.
(Flight Global) NASA is discussing the commercial purchase of the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to de-orbit the International Space Station (ISS) at the end of its life.
The original plan was to de-orbit the ISS into the Pacific using the Space Shuttle at the end of the station's life in 2016. But the Shuttle is to be retired in 2010 and the ATV, designed to resupply the ISS and boost its altitude, is the only vehicle known to be able to de-orbit the station.
Although their may be some public outcry at sending the International Space Station (or ISS) to meet its fiery fate below, NASA probably realizes that keeping the ISS alive is futile at best.
With Bigelow Aerospace quickly establishing themselves in the heavens, support for the ISS will probably erode in Congress as our representatives will find it easier to give tax breaks to a company impacting their region of the country than a "global project" such as the ISS.
Video: Genesis I flying over Northern Russia.
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