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NASA outlines plans for ISS deorbit and the transition to commercial stations

Capitalism in space: NASA on January 31st released its updated plan for transitioning all government manned orbital operations to commercial private space stations in the next eight years in preparation for the deorbiting of ISS in early 2031.

You can read the report here [pdf]. The key paragraph however is this:

NASA has … signed agreements with three U.S. companies (Blue Origin of Kent, Washington; Nanoracks LLC of Houston, Texas; and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation of Dulles, Virginia) to develop commercial destinations in space that go directly to orbit, i.e., free-flyers. The awards, along with the Axiom concept [where the private station starts as part of ISS and then later separates], are the first part of a two-phase approach to ensure a seamless transition of activity from the ISS to commercial destinations. During this first phase, private industry, in coordination with NASA, will formulate and design [commercial space stations] capabilities suitable for potential Government and private sector needs. The first phase is expected to continue through 2025.

For the second phase of NASA’s approach to a transition toward [commercial space stations], the Agency intends to certify for NASA crew member use [commercial space stations] from these and potential other entrants, and ultimately, purchase services from destination providers for crew to use when available.

It is NASA’s goal to be one of many customers of commercial LEO destination services, purchasing only the goods and services the Agency needs. [Commercial space stations], along with commercial crew and cargo transportation, will provide the backbone of the human LEO ecosystem after the ISS retires. [emphasis mine]

The report predicts that, by using private stations instead of building its own, the agency will save up to two billion dollars per year, money it can than use of planetary missions. This of course is assuming NASA cancels SLS. If not, I predict that overpriced cumbersome rocket will quickly absorb all this money saved.

The highlighted sentence indicates that NASA continues to accept entirely the recommendations I made in my 2017 policy paper, Capitalism in Space [a free pdf download]. In fact, that sentence is almost an exact quote from one of most important recommendations.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


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