Int'l Space Station will last well beyond 2030, Dubai summit told

Sarwat Nasir/Dubai
Filed on November 12, 2019
International Space Station, ISS, Hazzaa, UAE space

(Photo: Reuters)

'The country plans on sending more Emiratis to space,' a top official at Nasa said.

The International Space Station's (ISS) lifespan is "well beyond 2030", a top official at Nasa has said.

Speaking on the first day of the Humans in Space Symposium in Dubai on Monday, the director of ISS at Nasa, Sam Scimemi, said all of the ISS partners - Russia, the United States, European partners, Japan and Canada - are interested in continuing human space flights to the floating space laboratory.

For the past several years, there has been major speculation on the expiry date of the ISS, which was launched and became operational in 2000. Former Nasa chief Charles Bolden had said previously that it'll last until 2028.

"As for the lifetime of the ISS, the space station is a machine and it will eventually have a definitive lifetime, but it's well beyond 2030. All of the partners would want to be able to use the space station as much as possible," Scimemi said at the event, which is being hosted by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) till November 14.

The ISS is an essential platform for countries that carry out human space flights. The UAE's first astronaut, Hazzaa AlMansoori, spent eight days on it. The UAE sent its astronaut to the ISS under Russia's sponsorship, though it also teamed up with other ISS owners for scientific experiments and to utilise their segment on the station. The country plans on sending more Emiratis to space.

"Having the space station is the centre piece of all our endeavours," Scimemi said. "There is still a lot of value left to get out of the space station, both in the modules we have and to be able to conduct all of the research and technological development needed to send humans to the moon and on to mars. From Nasa's perspective, it's very positive that it looks like all of the ISS partners are interested in continuing with this mission."

Some ISS partners seem to be welcoming the commercialisation of the space station as a way to increase funding and keep the floating laboratory well-maintained.

Adnan Al Rais, the Mars 2117 Programme Manager at the MBRSC, said: "Space is more accessible now as compared to earlier days. There are alternative ways and means to send experiments and conduct science there through commercial providers that are available.

"Even students can get involved these days in conducting experiments in space. Before, it was donated by certain groups, industries, agencies ... but now it's more accessible because of the partnerships by the ISS, which allows this expansion and enables other nations to get involved and engaged. When we started our journey three years ago, we got support from all of the ISS partners."

Countries such as India and China have announced plans of building their own space station in low-earth orbit, as well as their own launch vehicles and spacecraft for human space flight missions.


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