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Space station redesign.

Under presidential order last month, NASA began a drastic redesign of Space Station Freedom aimed at halving development, transportation, and operating costs for the Earth-orbiting outpost. Without design revisions, the station would cost $118 billion to operate over its 30-year lifetime, according to estimates by the General Accounting Office. Marty Kress, deputy director of the space station project, says this figure includes $16 9 billion for development costs and $14 billion for costs including construction and transport of the station's various components by space shuttle. NASA has already spent more than $8.5 billion on the station.

To cut costs, the space agency is considering a station with a lifetime of just 10 to 15 years, NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin said at a press conference last month. A scaled-down version might also require only half of the 17 to 20 shuttle flights originally envisioned to transport parts. Goldin said maintaining a full-time crew on the space station remains a priority for his agency, but he indicated that this is now a goal rather than a requirement. Kress notes that some scientists might be unhappy with a space station inhabited only sporadically by humans, since this could defeat studies aimed at understanding the biological effects of long-term exposure to the space environment.

NASA has until June 1 to develop its new version of the space station, now scheduled for launch in 1997. As of April l, the agency had yet to fill all the positions on the panel appointed to develop the redesign plans.
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Title Annotation:Space Station Freedom to cut costs by half
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 3, 1993
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