The Space Review: A stepping-stone to commercial space stations

NASA, conscious that ISS potentially only has 8 years of useful life left in it, is making the very smart move of helping to accelerate the age of commercial space stations in LEO.

This is a comprehensive article, but the long & short of it is that NASA has put out an RFI for nascent commercial space station operators to berth a full-sized module at the port currently occupied by the +Bigelow Aerospace BEAM experimental module.

This will be a valuable bridging and learning experience for the winning bid, as they will have to build and launch an actual space station module, but NASA will feed & water it once it's attached to the station.

I'll watch this space with interest in the coming years.

In December, European ministers are expected to vote on a proposal to extend the European Space Agency’s participation in the International Space Station through 2024. If they decide to do so—and the leadership of ESA as well as some European national space agencies expect just that—ESA will be …