ISS priorities

The International Space Station is facing a number of key policy issues: how to maintain US access to Soyuz spacecraft in spite of the Iran Non-proliferation Act, managing an assembly schedule that has to wrap up when the shuttle retires in 2010, finding the best alternatives—commercial or otherwise—for cargo access to ISS, and so on. So it’s reassuring to see that ESA is doing its part by starting a study on “possible future cultural utilization” of ISS. The study, to be performed by Arts Catalyst, an independent arts organization based in London, will consult with “artists and cultural practitioners from a broad spectrum of disciplines” on how they could take advantage of the ISS as well as ground-support facilities. To their credit, Arts Catalyst is not new to the use of space, or at least microgravity, to support art, having explored the issue for several years. Given all the issues facing the station, though, it makes one wonder if ESA’s priorities should be focused more on ensuring that there will be a complete, accessible station in the first place.

7 comments to ISS priorities

  • cIclops

    This seems as likely as using the ISS as an archive to store NASA documentation. This undefined organization’s website reveals it to have all the signs of yet another subsidy hunting setup disguised as a “charity” (eg pays no tax). Get real, the ISS has been and will continue to be a massive waste of resources, no arty farty study will change that.

  • Brad

    This story sounds like something from theonion.com! Truth once again stranger than satire.

  • What this illustrates is that the ESA can’t think of any good use for a space station. This is no surprise, because neither the US nor Russia ever found one either.

  • The idea of an artist in space is something that has been around since at least the UNISPACE III conference (1999) as I seem to remember us toying with the idea as part of our UK recommendations.

    Back then, we believed the space station was going to be a real research and development facility and it made sense to engage members of the public who don’t ordinarily think about space. Art was one way of doing that; a way of communicating elements of the space experience.

    I think it’s an idea whose time will come, (and has already been – there is much fantastic space art, including Frank Malina’s) but given the deteriorating state of things it makes sense to rescue and restructure the space program first.

  • Space art is not an idea whose time has come; it’s an idea for all times.

  • Matthew Brown

    As a former member of IAAA (International Association of Arstronmical Artists, maybe i mixed it up) Space Art was on my mind how to get public support for a space program. I did some really nice images, never got em sold to the public, i did mostly for family. Infact it what introduced me to my wife. She was the framer at a local framing store.

    My only problem was getting the public aware of the art so they can see and get inspired. All my grand schemes always come to who i know, which is squat. It is always good to see art to try and engage the public on space.