In an ongoing effort to foster commercial activity in space, NASA has selected 13 companies to study the future of commercial human spaceflight in low-Earth orbit, including long-range opportunities for the International Space Station.
The studies will assess the potential growth of a low-Earth orbit economy and how to best stimulate private demand for commercial human spaceflight. The portfolio of selected studies will include specific industry concepts detailing business plans and viability for habitable platforms, whether using the space station or separate free-flying structures. The studies also will provide NASA with recommendations on the role of government and evolution of the space station in the process of transitioning U.S. human spaceflight activities in low-Earth orbit to non-governmental enterprises.
“When the International Space Station was established, we could not have anticipated all of the benefits it would provide,” said Sam Scimemi, director of the International Space Station division at NASA Headquarters. “We’re excited to receive this input from the commercial market and aerospace experts to help shape a future thriving space economy in which companies contract with each other to conduct research and activities in low-Earth orbit.”