International Space Station (ISS) Funding

It’s nice to learn that the current administration decided to extend funding for the International Space Station (ISS) through 2024. Seems like a no brainer to me. The station cost $150 billion to build. I think a mere $3 billion per year to maintain (which I can only assume includes supply/experiment launches and crew changes) is almost nothing when you consider the value of having the ability to conduct orbital experiments and improve the human ability to survive in space. I also would like to believe that since it’s an “International” station that other nations are contributing to the upkeep as well. In any case, I don’t want to throw away the $150 billion we spent on the ISS before we’re ready for the next step.

The Next Step

Space StationWhat is the next step? I like to think that the next step into space is a more robust space station. Something like the space station in 2001 would be fine with me, but I’m open to other ideas. It just needs to be something that can act as a “launchpad” for humans to reach deeper into space from Earth.

I have a strong belief that humans need to move beyond Earth. If the human race is to survive for a VERY long time we need to colonize other planets (in other solar systems) and need to continue the steps that take us there. A comet or asteroid could arrive at Earth at any time and completely destroy what has taken humans thousands of years to develop.

Why Keep an Orbital Presence?

Benefits. Huge benefits. The following is a short list of the benefits of NASA research:

  • Microcomputers
  • Advanced Keyboard Design
  • Water Purification
  • Portable Coolers/Warmers
  • Dustbuster
  • Shock Absorbing Helmets
  • High Density Batteries
  • Solar Energy
  • Pollution Measuring Devices
  • Radioactive Leak Detector
  • Air Purification
  • Breast Cancer Detection
  • Ultrasound Scanner
  • MRI
  • Wireless Communications
  • Robotic Hands
  • New Wing Designs for Jets

A more complete list can be found at the Santa Ana College website.

Buck Stops Here

The United States government (partially my tax dollars) has spend a lot more than $3 billion each year on things that help far fewer people than the International Space Station (ISS). The benefits the United States and humans have gained through space exploration cannot be underestimated. The ISS should continue to be funded until plans for a new, better station are finalized and construction is underway. It’s what I would do if I had the power to do so.

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