Op-Ed: The Load Bearing Rocket, A Falcon 9 Analysis

Published by on 01/30/2024 UTC

While NASA and its international partners look to the Moon and beyond under the Artemis Program, the mid to late 2020s will see a dramatic shift to the landscape of Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The International Space Station, which has served as the hub of human space exploration for 25 years, is going to be retired. The precise timing of the ISS’ retirement has become somewhat dubious recently; different involved parties have differing opinions on how long the station can be made to last, but one thing remains clear: the future of LEO stations will be commercial in nature. Under the Commercial LEO Destinations program at least two privately operated space stations will be in place by the time the ISS is deorbited, assuming all goes to plan. Privately developed, launched, and assembled space stations will be maintained by privately operated crew and cargo spacecraft, a dramatic shift from the landscape the ISS was born from. The emergence of private space stations remains a part of years yet to come, but the transition from government to commercial spaceflight has been ongoing for many years now.

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