What Comes After the International Space Station? – My programming school


From the outdoors, the design of Axiom’s area station appears remarkably much like the ISS. The cylindrical modules are about 15 meters in diameter and are related to the station like large Tinker Toys. The purpose for this, says Suffredini, is to make the most of the area business’s familiarity with the ISS. One of Axiom’s principal contractors to construct its modules, the European aerospace firm Thales Alenia Space, additionally constructed practically half of the modules for the ISS. Axiom’s station is additionally constrained by the dimension of current launch autos. As larger rockets come alongside, such as SpaceX’s Starship, it may make bigger area stations potential. For instance, Suffredini says Axiom is exploring the concept of utilizing inflatable modules in the future. These can be much like NASA’s TransHab, an inflatable ISS module idea the company developed in the Nineties earlier than the venture was canceled by Congress. Axiom’s modules could also be spherical or toroidal, and the diameter of every one might be as much as thrice bigger than a traditional arduous-shell mannequin.

Suffredini expects Axiom’s station for use by quite a lot of prospects; like the ISS, it is going to serve as a analysis platform for authorities area businesses and industrial corporations. It may even be a vacation spot for the first wave of area vacationers, which is why Axiom made the inside far more luxe than the austere accommodations of the ISS. The crew module’s decor was dreamed up by the famed interior designer Phillipe Starck and will come with plush padded partitions, panoramic home windows, and coloration-altering LEDs. But Axiom isn’t ready for an arrival in orbit to face up its area tourism enterprise. Shortly after securing its docking port from NASA, the firm inked a deal with SpaceX to ship 4 private astronauts—one of whom turned out to be Tom Cruise, who will likely be taking pictures a film on the station—to the ISS by the finish of subsequent yr.

It’s an bold program for such a small firm. Axiom has fewer than 100 workers, however what it lacks in dimension it makes up for in expertise. Prior to cofounding Axiom, Suffredini spent a decade working at NASA as the program supervisor for the ISS, and he says this expertise will assist Axiom succeed the place others have failed. And there have been quite a bit of plans for private area stations that by no means got here to fruition.

The concept for industrial area stations is virtually as previous as the Space Age itself. Years earlier than Buzz and Neil took their large leap, hoteliers and protection contractors have been planning for orbital Hiltons and 100-person space stations. In the Sixties, a bustling ecosystem of people residing and working in orbit appeared just some many years away. But constructing massive area stations turned out to be tougher and more costly than anybody imagined.

Before the ISS was even a twinkle in NASA’s eye, the company made its first foray into extraterrestrial hospitality with SkyLab, which may host as much as three astronauts for weeks at a time. On the different facet of the Iron Curtain, Russia constructed a sequence of small area stations—first Salyut and then Mir. It was a begin, however it wasn’t precisely Space Station V, the large wheel in orbit portrayed in Stanley Kubrick’s magnum opus, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

NASA’s Skylab hosted solely three astronaut crews earlier than the company allowed it to dissipate in the ambiance in the summer season of 1979. Everything in orbit finally falls again to earth, and Skylab didn’t have a solution to keep its altitude with out the area shuttle, which didn’t take its maiden flight until 1981. But NASA hadn’t given up on the concept of an area station. The subsequent yr the company stood up a Space Station Task Force to begin design work on its subsequent-technology orbital outpost, Freedom. This station was supposed to host as much as eight astronauts at a time and would have been constructed with contributions from Canada, Japan, and a number of European nations. The station appeared remarkably much like what would turn into the ISS; in reality, NASA says that round 75 % of the {hardware} designs for the International Space Station have been initially for Freedom.


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