The Air Force is investigating a report that heat losses in space are still evident in its facilities after the shutdown of the space agency’s space engineering division, a top official said.
The report from Air Force Space Command, which oversees the space industry, was issued Thursday, just hours after the U.S. Air Force announced the first-ever shutdown of a space station.
The statement from Air Marshal Dan Goldwater said “we are still assessing the issue and looking at how to mitigate it.”
The space agency has struggled to stay afloat amid an escalating threat of an asteroid strike and other factors, including an inability to test new technologies, including new space station modules.
The space station, launched in 2009 and built at a cost of $1.8 billion, is set to arrive at its home port in Florida by 2024.
The shutdown is the latest setback for NASA as it prepares for a long list of future missions.
A shutdown of NASA’s space program, known as SLS, would cost about $20 billion, and the agency would be unable to launch its first crewed mission to Mars by the mid-2020s.
The agency will also have to contend with the costs of space exploration in the decades ahead, including climate change, the Ebola pandemic and a variety of other crises.
NASA is also facing the potential of having to re-evaluate the agency’s reliance on commercial space travel, which could lead to significant cuts in NASA’s budget.