Canadian Budget Supports ISS Extension to 2024

CSAThe new Canadian federal budget supports the extension of the International Space Station from 2020 to 2024. Canada joins the U.S. and Russia to agreeing to the four-year extension; Japan and Europe have yet to weigh in.

 The budget also commits $30 million CND ($24.7 million US) over four years to support technology research and development through the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program. Canada is an associate member of ESA.

“The inclusion of these measures, which follows on the heels of announcements by Industry Minister James Moore of a national Space Policy Framework and the creation of a Space Advisory Board, is another step as we continue to work with the government on a long term vision for Canada’s future in space,” said Jim Quick, President and CEO of Aerospace Industries Association of Canada.

  • Jeff Smith

    I know the ISS is expensive. I know we’d all like to redirect those funds to our own pet projects (amazing SSTOs, Moon bases, Mars bases, whatever). But I’m quite happy they will be keeping the ISS going. Having our own Babylon 5 gives commercial crew and cargo a place to go, it forces sometime-enemies to deal with each other, and it’s a testbed for future space ventures. When it is eventually supplant by something else, it will have done its job.

  • Aerospike

    This is good news. I know there is a growing number of people who want to get rid of the ISS, but I think it will still be important for a few years, even if Bigelow gets their first commercial station into orbit before 2020. Can’t have enough destinations for the resupply operators to create a robust market.

    I think the extension to 2024 was a done deal once the US and Russia agreed to it. now Canada is on board and I think there is a zero percent chance that Europe will opt out. ESA would be effectively shutting down their whole human spaceflight division if they pulled out of ISS, so it will not happen.

    I’m not too familiar with JAXA or policies in Japan in general, so I’m not so sure about them, but I guess they will stay on board as well.

  • windbourne

    Yeah, I totally agree about the need for multiple destinations. In fact, to support BOTH Boeing and SpaceX will be hard with just 2 stations, and impossible with 1.
    In fact, I am hoping that we will push not just Bigelow, but also ILC/Dover will build out their space station and put that up there. Considering that they will need money to do that, I am hoping that a billionaire will buy them.
    Regardless, we NEED competition up there to increase the count and lower the costs, while keeping quality high. Otherwise, Bigelow will turn into a monopoly in the same fashion that ULA has been.
    And we know what a winner that has been.

  • Jeff Smith

    I certainly agree that trading 1 monopoly for another is not an improvement!

    As for the timing of ending ISS, here’s my question for you: The U.S. and Russia made these decision in 2014 and Canada has made it in 2015 (hopefully ESA and Japan do it soon). That was for a 2020 decision. If the U.S. and others are thinking 5-6 years into the future, what will they need to see in 2018-2019 to make that call? What changes will need to occur in the next 3-4 years to support those policy decisions?

  • windbourne

    Oh, we need to have at least 1 private space station up there AND work continuing on either a different company’s (not necessarily American) station, and/or BA continuing to expand to the moon. Before taking out the ISS, we really need to know that we have other multiple locations to support the launch infrastructure.
    More importantly, I think that all of the ISS partners will want that. Keep in mind that ISS is NOT just American. I suspect that if America withdrew, that it might be possible for us to give portions to Russia (well, once putin is gone and Ukraine settled). But I suspect that Russia would rather go to the moon with the US, than own an expensive space station.

    I believe that by next year, BA will schedule for BA alpha and it will start in 2017 (late, but better than never). And with SpaceX’s coming BFR announcement (supposedly they will start testing of the FULL raptor at stennis this summer ), I suspect that BA and SpaceX will announce going to the moon.

  • Jeff Smith

    If you allow one of those space stations to be Chinese, then I’d say your preference is perfectly acceptable!
    Certainly, if America pulls out, there is no coalition, and if America is in, then the likelihood that others will fall in with us is high. Right now, I think both Europe and Russia want somewhere for their astronauts to go, which the current (and future) space station accomplishes nicely. I doubt that Russia or Europe has the funding to support anything beyond a station under the current cost models (as governments, they have to plan based on how things ARE, not how they WILL BE in a few years).
    If Bigelow gets the contract for the next gen space station (a near certainly), I bet they won’t be the prime systems integrator. I bet that will go to Boeing (McDonnell Douglas had it for ISS, Boeing will get it again for ISS 2) and it will certainly help with the lobbying efforts. While we’d LIKE to see BA get the prime contractor job, I doubt NASA (and their bosses in Congress) are willing to go that far just yet (Boeing for commercial crew anyone?). Will BA have the bandwidth for a Moon base while they are working on ISS 2 and any additional space stations/space resorts in Earth orbit? I doubt it. Will they WANT to do it… ABSOLUTELY!
    BA is in a good place going forward: their technology works, NASA is about to put their stamp of approval on it in the form of BEAM, Commercial Crew is doing something that America’s Space Prize (remember THAT one???) wanted to do, AND ISS is about to age out. Having the right product at the right time for the right price is something that Bob Bigelow knows very well: Location, Location, Location!