When a rocket carrying the first module of the International Space Station blasted off from Kazakhstan in November of 1998, NASA officers said that the station would serve as an orbiting house for astronauts and cosmonauts for at the least 15 years.

When a rocket carrying the first module of the International Space Station blasted off from Kazakhstan in November of 1998, NASA officers said that the station would serve as an orbiting house for astronauts and cosmonauts for at the least 15 years.

It has now been over 18 years that the station has been occupied continuously by folks. The place is impressive, with other residing area than a six-bedroom home, two loos and a big bay window for wanting down at Earth.

NASA and its worldwide companions have spent decades and greater than $100 billion to make the station an actuality. The trouble is, because the agency sets its sights on returning people to the moon, the growing old station has change into a monetary burden. And it isn’t clear what its future holds.

NASA spends around $3 billion to $4 billion a year operating the station and flying people back and forth. That is about half the agency’s budget for human exploration of space.

The United States and the other participating nations have pledged to fund the station till at least 2024. However, it should surely last longer than that. Gilles Leclerc, head of space exploration on the Canadian Area Company, says there is no way that the international partners would come collectively in five years and determine to only crash the station into the ocean to so that sources may very well be directed to different area objectives.

“It will be a waste. We cannot ditch the International Space Station. There’s simply too much invested,” says Leclerc. “It is quite clear, it is unanimous between the partners that we continue to want an area station in low Earth orbit.”