The International Space Station will get crowded. More people will come to do more experiments

Has the International Space Station had its best years ahead? Soon, more people will fly on board than ever before: private ships, private companies, astronauts, scientists, tourists and Tom Cruise.

Soon there will be more people at the station than in recent years. The results of the scientific experiments conducted on board the station will also be more

- said Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, at a conference that took place last Thursday.

Bridenstine was referring to the new era of manned space flight, which in its own way began on May 30, when SpaceX sent its first manned mission to the ISS. Two astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, flew on a two-month mission aboard the station, using the Crew Dragon ship and the Fal c on 9 rocket produced by Sp a ceX .

When humans flew into space between 1981 and 2011 on American shuttles, there could be up to 7 astronauts on board during each flight. Since 2011, when the shuttles were finally decommissioned, it was only possible to fly into orbit aboard the Russian ship Soyuz, which only housed 3 astronauts.

Now, with the help of Crew Dragon, up to four astronauts will be able to fly towards the station. The same number of people will fit in the Boeing CST-100 Starliner capsule when it finally comes into use.

The larger Dragon and Starliner sizes mean an increase in research hours aboard a space station to 70 hours per week

said Joel Montalbano, NASA's ISS project manager.

Private spaceships will be standard at the station

The first manned operational mission (apart from the test mission carried out in May) will take off towards the station at the end of October. The first crewed Starliner will fly to the station next year. NASA plans to regularly alternate the two ships towards the station.

Each crew member will have a very extensive training program behind him. NASA wants to make the most of crew members for various tasks. Therefore, for example, the astronauts from the May Demo-2 mission were not only to test the ship, but also worked outside the station to replace the batteries during their two-month stay.

Due to the increased number of tasks for each astronaut and the increased size of the crews, the amount of research conducted at the station in the coming years and months will only increase. No wonder then that private station modules and private crews are already looking towards the station.

In January, NASA chose Axiom Space to build a private station module by 2024. In June, Axiom Space selected Thales Alenia to build a module that would be able to operate independently of the station when it ceased to exist.

CST-100 Starliner

A new type of ISS resident

Work is currently underway on introducing the so-called private astronauts. It is worth emphasizing here, however, that these will not be the space tourists who have already visited the ISS or the Mir station. Private astronauts are people employed by private companies. Their goal will be to carry out research for these companies.

In recent months, NASA has already received many proposals from interested companies, and two specific proposals are currently undergoing detailed analysis. It's worth noting that both Axiom and SpaceX announced a few months ago that they planned to send the first four private astronauts aboard the ISS as early as 2021.

As a rule, NASA wants to make some of the stations available to selected companies twice a year for short-term stays lasting from 10 to 30 days (a typical NASA astronaut crew spends six months on board the station).

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The International Space Station will get crowded. More people will come to do more experiments


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