NASA is looking to shift its focus from low-Earth orbit to Mars and beyond, but what does that mean for the International Space Station? The current end date for NASA support of the station is 2024, and the agency has confirmed that it has a plan in place to transfer management of the station to a commercial entity around that time.The ISS deorbit date was originally set for 2016, but that was pushed to 2020 recently. Then, the operational mission was extended to 2024. There was speculation that the station could be abandoned at that time in favor or other projects, but NASA might just be turning the keys over to a new owner. The ISS took years to build and continues to be a platform for important scientific research. It’s also a handy place to test new space technologies like the Bigelow expandable module.NASA didn’t say which companies are being considered to take over ISS operations, but Boeing and SpaceX seem like prime candidates. These are the only firms with manned launch vehicles ready to go. The ISS is even getting a docking module to accommodate the SpaceX Dragon v2 and Boeing CST-100. Those vehicles are expected to begin flying people to and from the ISS in 2017.Of course, the fate of the ISS isn’t only up to NASA. The ISS is a collaboration between the space agencies of the US, Russia, Canada, Japan, and Europe. All of them have been pouring billions of dollars into the yearly maintenance costs for the station. They might all be happy to be relieved of that financial burden without letting the station go to waste.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with R.C. Hedreen Company for the operation of a Hyatt Regency hotel currently under development in Seattle, Washington. Expected to open in mid-2018, the premium, full service hotel will be located in Seattle’s Denny Triangle neighbourhood at eighth and ninth avenues between Stewart and Howell Streets in downtown Seattle.“Developing a Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Seattle is consistent with our company’s objective to grow strategically in gateway destinations where our guests want us to be, and to do so with great owners and developers like R.C. Hedreen Company,” said David Tarr, Senior Vice President of Real Estate and Development, Hyatt. “We look forward to offering our guests and Hyatt’s loyal group of meeting and event planners an outstanding new lodging option in the heart of this dynamic city.”Hyatt Regency Seattle is set to be the largest hotel in the Pacific Northwest, offering 1260 smartly designed guestrooms, more than 9000 square metres of flexible meeting and event facilities, multiple food and beverage outlets, and an expansive Regency Club lounge. The hotel will be located two blocks from the existing Washington State Convention Center and immediately adjacent to the proposed convention centre expansion, making Hyatt Regency Seattle an ideal base for convention attendees.“The construction and operation of Hyatt Regency Seattle is a major economic win for the entire Seattle area and Pacific Northwest region, creating jobs, revenue and a world-class hotel experience for travellers and meeting and event planners,” said Richard C. Hedreen, Chairman, R.C. Hedreen Company. “We are excited to bring a Hyatt Regency hotel to Seattle, and believe the globally recognised brand will resonate with the growing base of business and leisure travellers visiting the city.”Hyatt Regency Seattle will be located in the centre of Seattle and proximate to Pike Place Market, the Space Needle and the Seattle Aquarium, as well as Seattle’s Capitol Hill and Lake Union neighbourhoods, connecting guests to retail and dining, entertainment and night life venues.