Story at a glance

  • In the beginning of June, the Senate passed the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.
  • The Biden administration’s $250-billion science bill includes $10 billion for NASA’s Human Landing System Program.
  • The Lunar Gateway station would act as a pit stop for astronauts on their way to the moon.

President Biden and his administration are resuming plans to extend the work being done at the International Space Station (ISS) and create a new space station that would orbit the moon.

At a length of 310-feet, the ISS first began coming together in 1998 and today is a fully-functioning, solar-powered space station that contains living quarters, labs, an observatory and attachments for incoming spacecraft.

Typically hosting six or seven people, the ISS crew usually consists of two Russian members, several Americans and one or two additional crew from the European, Japanese or Canadian space agencies.


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During former President Trump’s time in office, he discussed ending the ISS’s $4-billion-a-year funding by 2025, as he anticipated NASA unloading the space station to private companies. Partly fueling this move was Trump’s resolve to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024, which would have been the end of his second term as president had he been reelected.

Initially proposed in 2018, NASA was discussing the creation of the Lunar Gateway station, a space station that would act as a pit stop for astronauts on their way to the moon. But constructing and launching the Lunar Gateway would have delayed Trump’s plans and 2024 deadline, so the creation of the station was left in limbo.


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With new funding, Biden is setting the plans to build the station back into motion. 

“The Lunar Gateway is now a key part of NASA strategy,” Chris Impey, an astronomy professor at the University of Arizona, told The Daily Beast.

In the beginning of June, the Senate passed the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, the Biden administration’s $250-billion science bill, which includes $10 billion for NASA’s Human Landing System Program.

The bill now awaits the vote of the House of Representatives.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to reflect that $10 billion was allocated to NASA’s Human Landing System Program, not NASA's Lunar Gateway.


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Published on Jun 22, 2021