Space Station:

Status of Efforts to Determine Commercial Potential

NSIAD-99-153R: Published: Jun 30, 1999. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 1999.

Additional Materials:


Louis J. Rodrigues
(202) 512-4841


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on whether space-station-related commercial activities could generate revenue capable of reducing the station's annual cost of operations, which the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) estimates will average $1.3 billion, or $13 billion over a 10-year mission life after the space station is fully assembled in 2004.

GAO noted that: (1) on the basis of available information such as commercialization proposals and opinion surveys, GAO concluded that many businesses are skeptical of the station's commercial usefulness; (2) however, commercial interest in the station may increase as the station's assembly nears completion and its capabilities grow; (3) NASA is developing an independently conducted market study of potential commercial interest in the station, as required by the Commercial Space Act, and is implementing a commercial development plan for the station; (4) when NASA completes these tasks, it should be in a better position to understand how businesses perceive the station's commercial potential; (5) until then, NASA will be unable to estimate whether commercial activity would eventually reduce the space station's cost of operations; (6) NASA has not yet decided whether to pay to develop a x-ray crystallography facility primarily intended for commercial use aboard the space station; (7) drug design companies have not agreed to pay for this facility, although some firms said they could use it if its in-orbit capabilities were sufficiently well demonstrated; and (8) other firms remained skeptical of the facility's commercial usefulness compared with the usefulness of competing ground-based facilities.

Apr 30, 2020

Apr 29, 2020

Jan 29, 2020

Jan 28, 2020

Dec 19, 2019

Sep 18, 2019

Jun 20, 2019

Jun 19, 2019

May 30, 2019

Apr 19, 2019

Looking for more? Browse all our products here