Poll: Do We Need A New International Space Station?

Poll: Do We Need A New International Space Station?

  • Yes! Bring it down: The International Space Station is old and busted, with malfunctions like the

    Votes: 3 4.1%
  • Perhaps: The space station is an amazing engineering marvel, but its oldest component dates back t

    Votes: 10 13.7%
  • No! Keep ISS flying: The space station has been doing just fine since 1998 and was built to be main

    Votes: 60 82.2%

  • Total voters
    73
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doublehelix

Guest
A major malfunction of the International Space Station's cooling system has pushed the 12-year-old orbiting laboratory into the spotlight as NASA scrambles to perform two emergency spacewalks to make repairs.

But is the International Space Station too old and need replacing? Weigh in as NASA makes repairs to the space station.

Construction began on the station in 1998 and astronauts have been living aboard in shifts since 2000.

Graphic: Space Station's Cooling System Problem Explained



More resources:

NASA Delays Critical Space Station Repairs to Saturday
Big Space Station Can Have Big Malfunctions
Cooling System Malfunction Highlights Space Station's Complexity
Graphic: How Big Is the International Space Station?
Gallery - Space Station's Windows on the World
 
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richcon

Guest
So a component breaks down and needs replacing, for which the backup is working fine and the residents are in no danger, for which two replacement parts are already being held in storage on the Space Station, which can be fixed by the people on board within a week without needing a new Space Shuttle flight, and suddenly space.com is asking if we need to build a brand new $35 billion space station right as we're just about to finish building the current one?

That's the knee-jerk reaction of all knee-jerk reactions!
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
The space station is a testament to how far we humans have come. We have advanced from wielding bones to survive to building a full-fledged space station. That being said, bigger and more advanced stations are still at least a decade away. The ISS is a great place for astronauts to do experiments and learn about living in space so future explorers can make informed decisions about what to do on the moon, Mars, and asteroids, as well as on long deep space rides.

But like all machines, the ISS is not perfect. Every now and then there will be a small problem like this. If your car's brakes start messing up, do you trash it and go buy a new one? No, you take it to the repair shop and have them fix it. The same goes for the ISS. They've done good work to keep it in such great shape for 12 years, and I hope it continues to work until at least 2020. When the time comes, and the ISS has completed its mission life, then we will either get rid of it and start work on a bigger, more advanced station, or add on to what the ISS already has (more modules to connect to it perhaps. This might be better than just throwing it away).

Basically, stations advance over time. The salyut series was an early experiment, and since then the space agencies have perfected what they've done and produced this station. I personally look forward to bigger and better space stations in the future. Just be patient, and let the ISS perform its tasks with an occasional hiccup.
 
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EUROSUN1

Guest
Eventually, Yes will need a new space station. But keep the ISS flying with it`s current partners until 2030/2035 and get all out of it that we can. Start developing a new project, A new Space Station for After the ISS is retired. This new project could involve commercial space companies as well. It could involve far more partners from around the world. South-Korea, Australia, Brazil. China, India etc... We could build a Van Braun type space station or something similar. It would show the advancement of Humanity in Space. The ISS is an Icon in showing what human development and human cooperation can achieve. Should it be done more efficiently, Yes! And less costly, Of course! But their is much more that we are learning from Space Stations in Earth Orbit then some people would give it credit for. Human life support, Space logistics, Long term health issue`s, Solar radiation Protection development, recycling of waste etc...etc... These are all technologies we can use in the future for going beyond Low Earth Orbit and above all showing human cooperation and mutual development on this scale is showing that humanity could eventually reach for the stars.
 
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Valcan

Guest
Keep the station flying but gradually replace the old moduals with better more modern and cheaper ones made using the Inflatable method. Then gradually dismantle the old station and use its components for future needs.

STOP burning up insanly expensive and useful equipment. :evil:

And also any future station need a higher orbit so we arent spending tens of millions if not more on station keeping every dang year.
 
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Windbourne

Guest
Absolutely do NOT bring it down NOR create a new one. This was meant to be useful for testing systems BEFORE going on long missions. In addition, the mission was changed to be international cooperation. At this point, it is time to do the testing and continue with new ideas. For example, we SHOULD add an inflatable module as soon as possible. Likewise, lets add a tug to it. Ideally, it should start as a chemical one, followed by an electrical one. And it would be useful to increase the energy (either newer better solar, or a small nuke ), as well as increased storage (ideally, ultra-caps; skip these expensive, needing frequent replacement batteries). Basically, the ISS was meant to be a lab for all of the cooperating nations. Just use it that way. It has plenty of life left in it. In fact, it should last another 20 years.

However, at the same time, we should be doing all that we can to get PRIVATE space stationS going. The key on that being MULTIPLE stations. We should not be pushing just Bigelow, but also helping getting ILC dover going. In doing that, we will see lower costs due to competition, as well as less reliance on a single design.
 
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SteveCNC

Guest
I don't think they need to build a new station , hell the one we got isn't even finished yet . Let private enterprise build the next station , it will cost a whole lot less and be better to boot .
 
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vulture4

Guest
>>And also any future station need a higher oRBIT

The orbit is a compromise between air drag and the energy it akes to reach the station. The current ISS could be raised to a higher orbit if desired, with no Shuttle visits this might be reasonable. However adding an ion or vasimir jet would also allow it to maintain its orbit while using less fuel.

However the Station was designed to funciton with Shuttle, and canceling Shuttle was a major error. Rememebr just two years ago Griffin's plan was to eliminate the space station completely as soon as it was complete, absurd as that sounds now. Consequently Shuttle was also canceled. When ISS was extended Shuttle should have been reconsidered as well.
 
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Windbourne

Guest
vulture4":2ousg782 said:
>>And also any future station need a higher oRBIT

The orbit is a compromise between air drag and the energy it akes to reach the station. The current ISS could be raised to a higher orbit if desired, with no Shuttle visits this might be reasonable. However adding an ion or vasimir jet would also allow it to maintain its orbit while using less fuel. ....
Actually, in the case of the ISS, that is not the case. The ISS was suppose to be at around 300-400 miles away from loads of drag as well all of the debris that exists in the 200-300 miles area. In fact, that is why Bigelow launched theirs into that arena. They will be up their decades before hitting 250 miles at which point, they will come start coming down quickly.
So why is it in the lower 200? Because Progress could not reach 300 miles orbit. The only way to have Russia be part of this was to bring it down to a lower altitude.
The funny thing is that had we been up in the 300 miles, it would actually be cheaper to us, even though it is slightly more fuel to get there.
 
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rcsplinters

Guest
It doesn't matter what you do, stuff is going to break. Only way to avoid this is stay home.
 
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Galacticexplorer

Guest
I think NASA should use it as a base to construct another one before bringing it down.
 
L

Lancelot_64

Guest
My comment is intended to provoke thought only..

Wouldnt it be fun to equip the station for beyond earth space travel?

Add on the required modules and send her to orbit the moon or perhaps another exotic location.

IMO this is a facinating possibilty.. what's needed?

Navigation and propulsion modules perhaps..

If large scale ships are ever to exist they will likely resemble the ISS, however, the assembly time and

expense will have to be greatly reduced (if even possible).
 
K

Kanawha

Guest
Galacticexplorer":2xhhrq2x said:
I think NASA should use it as a base to construct another one before bringing it down.

I agree. Keep ISS going for as long as possible (20+ more years?) and do not de-orbit it until a replacement is well underway. This little hiccup with the ammonia pump is no big deal, I don't know why its become such a major story. I mean, if anything the toliet malfunction a year or so ago was seemingly the bigger problem. At least there's a spare pump on board. Pumps in particular don't have to be 12 years old to break as they are rapidly turning, frequently running, complex machines. Even a relatively new car will often need either a fuel, water, or air conditioning pump after a couple years of driving.
 
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elroy_jetson

Guest
The ISS is the only manned spaceflight destination we have, and will remain so until we have a pro-space administration that has the testicular fortitude to actually establish deep space objectives, and to develop the hardware to reach such objectives. Since that won't be happening any time soon, the ISS is now essential for maintaining nominal manned space flight capabilities. ISS must be retained.
 
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SteveCNC

Guest
Lancelot_64":1ghz2qhl said:
My comment is intended to provoke thought only..

Wouldnt it be fun to equip the station for beyond earth space travel?

Add on the required modules and send her to orbit the moon or perhaps another exotic location.

IMO this is a facinating possibilty.. what's needed?

Navigation and propulsion modules perhaps..

If large scale ships are ever to exist they will likely resemble the ISS, however, the assembly time and

expense will have to be greatly reduced (if even possible).
The only problem with that is the ISS wasn't made to withstand very much acceleration so any propulsion module added on couldn't produce too much thrust or it would tear the ISS apart . And without some decent propulsion it would take a long time to get it anywhere worthwhile . It would be awsome to do that with the next station though , it just needs to be designed a little differently and you could take it to any planet and set up shop in orbit , get tired of that view head to another planet or moon .
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
Lancelot_64":1gp357c9 said:
My comment is intended to provoke thought only..

Wouldnt it be fun to equip the station for beyond earth space travel?

Add on the required modules and send her to orbit the moon or perhaps another exotic location.

IMO this is a facinating possibilty.. what's needed?

Navigation and propulsion modules perhaps..

If large scale ships are ever to exist they will likely resemble the ISS, however, the assembly time and

expense will have to be greatly reduced (if even possible).
Space stations aren't equipped for long term deep space travel like that. Yes it's big, and yes it holds lots of provisions, but it would be better to build a ship for the singular purpose of deep space missions rather than using the ISS. Also I don't think future inter-planetary ships will look like that.
 
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sftommy

Guest
Sometime in the 2020s we will begin building another station of some sort at a Lagrange point.
It might even validate the heavy lift now being projected with a mission, much as the shuttle was with ISS.

Current ISS will have finished it's mission as a techno test-bed and might be kept as a halfway point, a stop-over and switch point from LEO launch vehicles to larger reusuable transports to the Lagrange constructions sites. I think we'll always need something like ISS even after we move on to bigger and better space stations.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
sftommy":pqqm2qig said:
Sometime in the 2020s we will begin building another station of some sort at a Lagrange point.
It might even validate the heavy lift now being projected with a mission, much as the shuttle was with ISS.

Current ISS will have finished it's mission as a techno test-bed and might be kept as a halfway point, a stop-over and switch point from LEO launch vehicles to larger reusuable transports to the Lagrange constructions sites. I think we'll always need something like ISS even after we move on to bigger and better space stations.
Could you inform us of the merits of constructing the next station at one of these points? I'm afraid I'm rather unfamiliar with those.
 
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jerrycobbs

Guest
Windbourne":2enh8tpd said:
Absolutely do NOT bring it down NOR create a new one. This was meant to be useful for testing systems BEFORE going on long missions. In addition, the mission was changed to be international cooperation. At this point, it is time to do the testing and continue with new ideas. For example, we SHOULD add an inflatable module as soon as possible. Likewise, lets add a tug to it. Ideally, it should start as a chemical one, followed by an electrical one. And it would be useful to increase the energy (either newer better solar, or a small nuke ), as well as increased storage (ideally, ultra-caps; skip these expensive, needing frequent replacement batteries). Basically, the ISS was meant to be a lab for all of the cooperating nations. Just use it that way. It has plenty of life left in it. In fact, it should last another 20 years.

However, at the same time, we should be doing all that we can to get PRIVATE space stationS going. The key on that being MULTIPLE stations. We should not be pushing just Bigelow, but also helping getting ILC dover going. In doing that, we will see lower costs due to competition, as well as less reliance on a single design.

You stole my thunder on that one--exactly on target. The ISS is immensely valuable, but not for the reasons a lot of people suppose. We'll probably never do enough zero-g crystal growth or drug research to justify its cost. But as a test bed for building and operating large long-duration spacecraft, it is no exaggeration to say that all the future manned exploration of the solar system will be based on what we have been learning the past decade.

If we keep ISS flying up to or beyond 2020, it's my guess we'll probably never build another NASA-led space station. We won't have to because Bigelow and others will fill that gap. If NASA decides to keep ISS flying, or if they need smaller stations with more targeted missions, they can simply purchase what they need from Bigelow or another commercial supplier. Having multiple sources for off-the-shelf stations, station modules, and/or launch vehicles is an amazing thought, and will be the real future for our access to space.
 
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jerrycobbs

Guest
Lancelot_64":3gydcn69 said:
My comment is intended to provoke thought only..

Wouldnt it be fun to equip the station for beyond earth space travel?

Add on the required modules and send her to orbit the moon or perhaps another exotic location.

IMO this is a facinating possibilty.. what's needed?

Navigation and propulsion modules perhaps..

If large scale ships are ever to exist they will likely resemble the ISS, however, the assembly time and

expense will have to be greatly reduced (if even possible).
Nice thought, and I used to wonder about such too, but the ISS is just not equipped to leave orbit. It can't handle the propulsion stresses, it lacks proper navigation and communication equipment, it would need much more sophisticated radiation shielding, and unless you were planning to stay close to the sun, it couldn't generate enough energy. It is highly optimized to do exactly what it does, which is function well in Earth orbit. Unfortunately, being great at one thing in this case means being not suited for something else.

You are right about reducing assembly time and expense for future ships; however, that is exactly what we have been learning from the ISS and that is why it is such a great craft. It is perfect for what it does.
 
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tanstaafl76

Guest
Heck no, we just barely got this one built!!!

Even when this one does wear out, we shouldn't replace it with another one, at least not another one like this. If anything the next station should be an orbital refueling depot.
 
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sftommy

Guest
Could you inform us of the merits of constructing the next station at one of these points? I'm afraid I'm rather unfamiliar with those.
Lagrange points offer a midway point between the tugs of gravitational fields such that an object can achieve steady state and not fall towards either. In practical terms that means no propellant required to keep an object in orbit.

At some point the Lagrange points will be recognized as "hot properties" and there will be competition for the unique environment they provide and development there will escalate.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
sftommy":1sd6zrd5 said:
Could you inform us of the merits of constructing the next station at one of these points? I'm afraid I'm rather unfamiliar with those.
Lagrange points offer a midway point between the tugs of gravitational fields such that an object can achieve steady state and not fall towards either. In practical terms that means no propellant required to keep an object in orbit.

At some point the Lagrange points will be recognized as "hot properties" and there will be competition for the unique environment they provide and development there will escalate.
How far would this point be away from Earth? The stable position is nice but if it's too far away it will drive up mission costs, though we could save money if we put one at this point because the station wouldn't need the fuel to maintain its orbit.
 
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dryson

Guest
Just because a system breaks down does not necessitate the complete dismantling of the station. I had to replace the power steering cooling radiator on my truck recently after one of the tubing break due to use. Should I throw the truck away or buy a new one just because of $30.00 part went bad?

The I.S.S. is getting old but there are companies designing new stations and modules everday that when it comes time to take the I.S.S. down the new station modules will be in place to replace the I.S.S. But I really do not see the I.S.S. coming down for long time as it has brought many different nations together in the hope of continuing to epxlore space.
 
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