WASHINGTON, D.C. – Space industry leaders like former NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine made their arguments on Capitol Hill Thursday to extend the life of the International Space Station.
‘’We need to squeeze every minute and ounce of capability out of the ISS,’’ Mike Gold of Redwire Space addressed the Senate Subcommittee on Space and Science.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said the Senate supports extending the station to 2030, but the U.S. House still needs to act.
Bridenstine said it’s also critical Congress fund a new space station to eventually replace the ISS.
‘’We know it can’t last forever,’’ the former NASA administrator and US Congressmen said.
The speakers warned the U.S. must always have a presence in low-Earth orbit or its main competitor, China, could become the dominant nation in space.
The first permanent Chinese space station launched in April and a new crew docked last weekend.
‘’Ensure that we proceed with enough funding to deploy a free-flying commercial space station so that it’s operational while the ISS is still there so that we do not create a gap in low-Earth orbit that would be disastrous for us and the nation,’’ Gold said.
Before the next space station might be built, NASA wants to book more astronaut missions to the ISS.
A NASA release read in part, ‘’Commercial crew transportation services are going to be needed into the foreseeable future.’’
NASA added calling on more American space providers to follow SpaceX and Boeing, the companies currently under contract for 12 crewed flights to the station.
The next mission is now scheduled for Halloween.
SpaceX moved the launch of Crew-3 from the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 30 to Sunday, Oct. 31.