Commercial crews & private astronauts will boost ISS’s science

Private astronaut taxis will haul more folks up to the orbiting lab

A golden age may be coming for human spaceflight research as more astronauts than ever fly to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard commercial crew vehicles and through private companies, NASA officials said during an online conference Thursday (Aug. 27).

“We’re going to have more people on the International Space Station than we’ve had in a long time, and [research and development] throughput is actually going to increase,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in opening prerecorded remarks for the ISS Research & Development conference.

Bridenstine was referring to a new era of human spaceflight that opened on May 30, when SpaceX launched its first-ever crewed mission, the Demo-2 test flight. Demo-2 sent NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS for two months, ending on Aug. 2 when SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule made the first American ocean splashdown from orbit since 1975.

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Read more: Space