Biden signs CHIPS Act, approving ISS expansion through 2030

The United States is officially committed to operating the International Space Station until 2030.

President Joe Biden signed the Semiconductor Production Incentive Creation Act (CHIPS) today (August 9). The act, which Congress approved late last month, is so named because it is committing $53 billion to boost the US semiconductor industry. But it also has numerous other measures, including a NASA authorization bill – the first to pass Congress in five years.

This authorization bill approves NASA’s participation in the international space station (ISS) until September 2030, a six-year extension.

Related: Biden calls for $26 billion budget for NASA in 2023 as agency aims to send astronauts to Mars by 2040

Today’s signing does not guarantee that the orbiting laboratory will live that long; the other partners of the ISS — the space agencies of Canada, Japan, Europe and Russia — must also agree.

Canada, Europe and Japan probably will, but Russia is a very different story. Many of Russia’s space partnerships have frayed following its invasion of ukraineand Russian officials have recently expressed a desire to leave the ISS program as soon as the nation can set up its own space station. (This step is not expected until 2028 at the earliest.)

Among other measures, the NASA Authorization Bill also supports and defines key elements of the agency Artemis programwhich aims to establish a long-term human presence on and around the moon by the end of the decade.

And, unlike the famous NASA Apollo program, the moon is not the final goal of Artemis. NASA plans to use the lessons learned during Artemis to take the next giant leap – a crewed mission to Mars, which the agency hopes to launch in the late 2030s or early 2040s.

“We are thrilled that this bipartisan legislation includes the NASA Authorization Act of 2022,” Frank Slazer, president and CEO of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, an advocacy group made up of companies and other players in the space industry. .

“The new law demonstrates that Congress and the White House recognize the importance of space to our nation’s competitiveness and strongly support NASA’s space exploration goals,” Slazer added. “This level of support will pave the way for Americans – and our international partners – to venture into March.”

Mike Wall is the author of “The low (opens in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in a new tab). Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) Or on Facebook (opens in a new tab).

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