Former NASA Executive Plans to Build an ISS Replacement

Monday, 27 June 2016 - 5:06PM
Space
Monday, 27 June 2016 - 5:06PM
Former NASA Executive Plans to Build an ISS Replacement
With the ISS being taken out of commission in 2024, Mike Suffrendini, its former manager, is already looking to create a replacement. 

Along with Kam Ghaffarian of Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, Suffrendini has co-founded a startup with the intention of building a brand-new, private space station. The company, Axiom Space, is planning on building a model to attach to the current ISS, and then eventually expanding that model into a full space station to be used for tourism and research. 

Based on this idea, the two created Axiom Space, and are well on their way to being the replacement for the ISS. But in order to garner revenue, the company is looking to manufacture spacecraft in space. Building spacecraft in space could lead to significantly reduced costs, especially since they wouldn't have to be strong or resilient enough to survive a launch from Earth. In addition, manufacturing processes that use both heating and cooling, which are used to make most electronics, would be more efficient if constructed in zero gravity.

The company is also looking to break into the space tourism industry. "Our long-term mission is to make living and working in space commonplace for all, and to create a means to deep space exploration," Suffredini told Inc.com.

The ISS was first launched in 1998 - so the fact that it's projected to last until 2024 is incredibly impressive. But if NASA is able to extend that time to 2028, his space station will be ready to take over all of their ongoing projects. If there's a gap between when NASA retires the ISS and when a commercial space station launches, many of these ventures will end due to the complications of restarting. 

Suffredini isn't the only person looking to conquer the final frontier; Las Vegas- based Bigelow Aerospace first announced its intention to create a space station in 2004, and the project is currently in development. But still, the Axiom Space founder is confident in their prospects.

Opening quote
"There aren't many people who in the last 20 years have built, assembled, and operated a platform like this," he said. "I have. I think we'll be in a good position to make a serious go at it."
Closing quote
Science
NASA
Space

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