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Industrial Space Facility

starviking

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Archibald

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George Low was to be part of it but he died before it started. This project had impressive backers but become bogged down in Congress, the victim of NASA atrocious space station Freedom management and politics. Also the Shuttle failed costs promises, post Challenger.
 
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Byeman

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George Low was to be part of it but he died before it started. This project had impressive backers but become bogged down in Congress, the victim of NASA atrocious space station Freedom management and politics. Also the Shuttle failed costs promises, post Challenger.
Not so. It because there was no market for it. Just as now (see Bigelow or solo unmanned Dragon flights). The ISS is having trouble finding new experiments even now.
 

blackstar

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ISF followed a rather familiar arc, starting out as a "private" company that was going to be independent of the government, and ending up trying to become a government contractor. Companies that successfully end up being a contractor then usually have a further step when they try to prevent other private companies from getting into the field. (It's called "rent seeking," where an established industry seeks to exclude new entrants.)

There are a lot of common steps in that arc too, such as starting out badmouthing the government program, claiming that their project is superior to the government one. Then they realize that there are not enough private customers to support them and most of the customers are government, so they change their position to say that they should get the government contracts instead of the government platform. And then there's often a step where they say that their proposal is not competitive with the government one, but complementary. (Often they have spent years badmouthing the government program, and now they want to partner with it, and this does not go well because they now need as allies the same people that they have been saying bad things about for years.) ISF's leadership wanted to do that by the early 1990s, arguing that they could be a free-flying platform that would be nearby the NASA space station. But nobody has come up with a strong need for a free-flying platform.

There are other examples of companies or organizations following this arc. You could put the B612 Foundation in the same category: for years they claimed they were going to fund themselves privately and they quietly badmouthed JPL's NEOCam proposal. Then they wanted government money to build their spacecraft.
 
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Brickmuppet

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There has been a huge bureaucratic overhead involved in gatekeeping what was 'till recently a very limited number of slots available for payloads as well as 538 Senators, Representatives and Delegates ready to play "GOTCHA!" with any experiment they can make hay of, However, there are actually a limited number of meaningful experiments that can be done in orbit with the facilities available. One thing that I really think we should be pursuing is variable gravity research especially the long term effect of 0.17g and 0.37g on people. But we don't have the facilities for that, and as far as I know, none in prospect aside from some private sector proposals.
 

Byeman

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There has been a huge bureaucratic overhead involved in gatekeeping what was 'till recently a very limited number of slots available for payloads as well as 538 Senators, Representatives and Delegates ready to play "GOTCHA!" with any experiment they can make hay of, However, there are actually a limited number of meaningful experiments that can be done in orbit with the facilities available. One thing that I really think we should be pursuing is variable gravity research especially the long term effect of 0.17g and 0.37g on people. But we don't have the facilities for that, and as far as I know, none in prospect aside from some private sector proposals.
Nonsense. There is no "gatekeeping" and "Senators, Representatives and Delegates" play no role in experiment manifesting. Plain and simple, just nothing new under the sun to fly. Just reflying old experiments.
 

blackstar

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There has been a huge bureaucratic overhead involved in gatekeeping what was 'till recently a very limited number of slots available for payloads as well as 538 Senators, Representatives and Delegates ready to play "GOTCHA!" with any experiment they can make hay of, However, there are actually a limited number of meaningful experiments that can be done in orbit with the facilities available. One thing that I really think we should be pursuing is variable gravity research especially the long term effect of 0.17g and 0.37g on people. But we don't have the facilities for that, and as far as I know, none in prospect aside from some private sector proposals.
Nonsense. There is no "gatekeeping" and "Senators, Representatives and Delegates" play no role in experiment manifesting. Plain and simple, just nothing new under the sun to fly. Just reflying old experiments.

Yeah. Members of Congress don't pay attention to space projects less than a billion dollars. They're often not even aware of them.

As for ISS experiments, it's a big complex issue. A lot of them are NASA-funded, and they have to be funded several years in advance. The changing retirement date for ISS can create problems for researchers who want to propose a series of experiments over several years. For instance, if ISS is scheduled for retirement in 2024, then nobody can propose an experiment for 2025 even if everybody expects the retirement date to be pushed to 2028. So the changing retirement date has stifled some of the planning for out-year experiments.

There really is not a private market for conducting in-space experiments. The private users are small and don't have a lot of money. So it's not like NASA can say "We have an experiment rack open to anybody who wants to rent it" and then they get a lot of takers. They're just not out there. That's also one of the factors in the effort to commercialize LEO by encouraging a "commercial" space station to replace ISS--there's just no group that is clamoring to do research in LEO.
 

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