Government Report Questions Space Station Research

Eli is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

Just as construction on the facility comes to an end, a new Government Accountability Office report is criticizing NASA's plans for research at the International Space Station:

NASA faces several significant challenges that may impede efforts to maximize utilization of all ISS research facilities, including:

(1) the impending retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2010 and reduced launch capabilities for transporting ISS research cargo once the shuttle retires;

(2) high costs for launches and no dedicated funding to support research;

(3) limited time available for research due to the fixed size of crew and competing demands for the crew's time; and

(4) an uncertain future for the ISS beyond 2015.

NASA is researching the possibility of developing a management body--including internal and external elements--to manage ISS research, which would make the ISS National Laboratory similar to other national laboratories.

Posted in Space