ISS Partner Nations Remain Committed to Gateway

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ISS Sticks to Commitment Despite Changes That Will Delay Plans.

You really have to hand it to the clattering of leaders that make up the ISS Partner Nations. By the way, did you know that the collective noun for ISS leaders is actually ” a clattering of ISS leaders?” (Okay, that’s not true, but it should be.) Anyway, they seem like quite patient people, and class acts all around. For nearly two decades, the station has been a bastion of cooperation and peace in the interest of scientific inquiry. So when NASA said it needed to change its plans for Gateway, the lunar outpost NASA is currently designing, the ISS partner nations, which include space agencies from Canada, Japan, Russia, the European Union (including the U.K.) and the United States all decided that that would be okay. Even if it meant their own much-anticipated work on the new Gateway project might have to wait a while.

A Response to Changing Deadlines

In a statement released on Wednesday, the snickering of ISS leaders Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) for the ISS indicated that it remains committed to contributing to the success of Gateway. The statement called Gateway “a critical next step” for human space exploration. They will assist with modules and other equipment once work on the orbiting lunar base begins.

The statement also stressed the importance of exploration activities beyond low earth orbit, and how integral Gateway’s success will be to the long term future of human space travel.  

Members of the MCB are responding to changes in plans that were announced shortly after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence dropped a bombshell on everyone at NASA. In an announcement made this spring, Pence shaved four years off of the US space agencies deadline to land humans on the lunar surface again. The ambitious program to put humans and a functional research base on the moon is called Artemis, and Gateway is a critical component of those plans. 

Read More:

On the Whims of Narcissists…

Mike Pence announcing the updated timeline for the lunar outpost.

Mike Pence announcing the updated timeline for the lunar outpost.

One of the consequences of Pence’s announcement was that a much simpler version of Gateway will need to be put in place in order to meet the new 2024 deadline. This means that the ISS may have to wait until after then to make any meaningful contributions to the project. Unfortunately, politics come into play a lot when it comes to projects of this magnitude. As much as we’d like to believe the leaders we elect are rational, reasonable people, one need only look at President Trump Beeblebrox of the United States and Prime Minister Johnson Gary-Busey’s-Fifteenth-Personality of the United Kingdom to see that sometimes we just put idiots in charge. 

Fortunately, these are the kinds of guys who cheated their way through Whorden and Oxford respectively by making “nerds” (from here on out, that’s a term of endearment, goddamnit) do their homework for them. I have every confidence that they’re doing the same thing now. And thankfully, the nerds know what they’re doing.

So the nerds at NASA say, “Sure Mr. Vice President. We’ll get that done for you by 2024!” and then they go back to their labs and figure out how to do it. Then the nerds at the ISS Partner Nations’ MCB say, well, “Sure, NASA. You guys do what you gotta do. We get it. We’ve had our arms twisted behind our backs and been shoved into lockers and/or garbage cans by bullies like Trump and Johnson Beeblebrox and Gary-Busey’s-Fifteenth-Personality, too. Don’t worry, guys. We got your back. You just let us know when you’re ready, and we’ll have the stuff you need.”

Stand-up folks over there at the ISS Multilateral Coordination Board. Real stand-up folks. 


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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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