NASA chief Jim Bridenstein said the United States must maintain a presence on Earth Orbit With the International Space Station (ISS) to prevent Chinese activity.
“Let me tell you something that worries me the most – that is the day when the International Space Station will come to the end of its useful life,” Bridenstein told U.S. lawmakers.
“In order for the United States to have a presence in Earth’s orbit, we must be prepared for what lies ahead,” Bridenstein added.
Bridenstein’s warning comes as China prepares to launch its international space station, Tiangong, by 2022.
We want to see a public-private partnership where NASA can engage with commercial space station providers so that we can maintain a permanent human presence in low orbit, ”he said.
“I do not think it’s in the country’s interest to build another international space station – I think it’s in the country’s interest for NASA to support a consumer commercial industry.”
“China is rapidly building the so-called Chinese International Space Station, and they are rapidly marketing that space station to all our international partners,” Bridenstein said.
“After all his time and effort, it would be a disaster if we left Earth’s low orbit and left that region,” the NASA chief added.
“It is imperative that we do not ultimately hand over the territory to another country that has no interest in us,” he said.