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The ISS, or International Space Station, is facing major problems with cracks, air leaks, toilet failures, temperature variations and oxygen supply system failures. Despite these issues, the Biden administration has committed to keeping the ISS operational until at least 2030. However, NASA has plans to transition to privately owned space stations by then.

NASA has been working on a new project called the Orbital Reef which will be a future privately owned space station. This space station will have a regenerative system that recycles astronaut urine which will provide clean air and drinking water for astronauts aboard the space station. Recycling urine and other waste helps reduce costs and the amount of supplies that need to be launched into space.

In addition to the Orbital Reef project, NASA has awarded funding to companies like Blue Origin and Sierra Space to develop commercialized space stations in low-Earth orbit. These companies are working on potential replacements for the ISS in the future. By outsourcing space station development, NASA can focus on bigger priorities such as establishing a permanent human presence on the moon through the Artemis missions.

The projected cost of these lunar missions is estimated to be $93 billion between 2012 and 2025 not including launch costs. Moving forward, NASA plans to work with industry partners to ensure competition, reduce costs, and meet the demand for space stations from NASA and other customers.

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