This artist’s digital concept depicts the completely assembled International Space Station (ISS) passing over Florida. (Photo: NASA)
LOW EARTH ORBIT — NASA is opening the International Space Station for commercial business so U.S. industry innovation and ingenuity can accelerate a thriving commercial economy in low-Earth orbit.
This move comes as NASA focuses full speed ahead on its goal of landing the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024, where American companies also will play an essential role in establishing a sustainable presence.
NASA officials, including the agency’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWit, discussed the details of the five-part near-term plan in a news conference yesterday. The news conference aired live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
NASA will continue research and testing in low-Earth orbit to inform its lunar exploration plans, while also working with the private sector to test technologies, train astronauts and strengthen the burgeoning space economy. Providing expanded opportunities at the International Space Station to manufacture, market and promote commercial products and services will help catalyze and expand space exploration markets for many businesses.
The agency’s ultimate goal in low-Earth orbit is to partner with industry to achieve a strong ecosystem in which NASA is one of many customers purchasing services and capabilities at lower cost.
NASA’s plan addresses both the supply-side and demand-side for a new economy, enabling use of government resources for commercial activities, creating the opportunity for private astronaut missions to the space station, enabling commercial destinations in low-Earth orbit, identifying and pursuing activities that foster new and emerging markets, and quantifying NASA’s long-term demand for activities in low-Earth orbit.
To learn more about opportunities for commercial activities aboard the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/leo-economy/low-earth-orbit-economy