Posted by: thescoundrel | September 17, 2008

As US Space Shuttles are Phased Out – Will the International Space Station become a Ghost Town

The BBC has an interesting article discussing the problems the International Space Station faces with the present US Shuttle program fading out, Allied tension with Russia limiting those opportunities and the consideration of the scientific world possibly riding out the period by Europe redesigning their Ariane 5 series rockets to take up the slack created while waiting on the shuttle replacements or another permanent replacement is found.

The current USA Space Shuttles are set to be decommissioned in 2010. This is a move that could probably leave the US as well as the rest of the Worlds space exploration community in a bind. The new replacements, dubbed Orion are updated with shuttle technology and larger than/but similar in appearance to the old Apollo space craft series. The Orion series are also supposed to be capable of returning the USA to the moon and eventually Mars, though they are not likely to be serviceable until 2015. The period between the current shuttles and the new Orion will reduce our space exploration as well as limit our access to the International Space Station for a period of four to five years, depending on political whims. The problem is not going unnoticed in Europe either. Europe, Japan and Canada rely on an agreement with the USA Space Shuttle Program as a method of transportation between the ISS & Earth for their science experiments. Without a form of transportation, the ISS could become something akin to an expensive ghost town during that period.


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