Since first setting foot on the moon, the United States and countries around the globe have endeavored to explore and understand “the final frontier.” We’ve raced, studied, failed and tried again -- achieving great things in that time frame. Now, NASA is looking forward to what’s next.
The International Space Station (ISS) was first occupied in 2000, and it continues to host to astronauts to this day. According to NASA, more than 200 people from 15 countries have visited the facility, spending countless hours researching and gathering data for the benefit of people on Earth.
Recently, NASA awarded a five-year $1.18 billion contract to extend engineering support of the ISS through 2020. The agreement allows the Boeing team, who has more than 50 years of experience in space, to maintain the station at peak performance levels and assess the viability of ISS structures into 2028.
So what really is next for the ISS?
Research on ISS has led to numerous improvements on Earth – from the medical field, to Earth observations, to providing clean water in underdeveloped countries, to how we diagnose and treat patients in remote areas. ISS also is enabling deep space human exploration by validating key technologies and understanding the long-term effects of space on the human body.
Finally, ISS is helping companies like Boeing shape development of spacecraft like the (CST)-100 Starliner that will take a mix of crew and cargo to low-earth orbit destinations, and the Space Launch System (SLS) – the most powerful rocket ever built – that will propel America’s exploration of deep space.
So let’s take that next leap in exploration together, knowing that the ISS will be ready and waiting the next 200 people who will make history.
For more on the ISS, check out this video .