President Trump's proposed budget wants NASA out of the ISS

15 February, 2018, 07:08 | Author: Patty Aguilar
  • This uncrewed cargo mission plans to deliver three tons of food fuel and other supplies

Donald Trump's administration has outlined plans to stop funding the International Space Station by 2025, and instead open it up to private investors.

The US plan, the paper said, involves privatising the ISS, a low-orbit space station piloted by the US space agency NASA and developed jointly with its Russian counterpart.

The concern is that the nation could be left with nowhere to send astronauts and do science research and technology development in low Earth orbit, just as the nation is now in the midst of a almost seven-year gap in its ability to launch astronauts from US soil. It was earlier outlined by the Verge and The Washington Post.

The 2019 budget proposal will offer $150 million "to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial successors to the ISS - potentially including elements of the ISS - are operational when they are needed".

It also calls for $10.5bn for "an innovative and sustainable campaign of exploration" leading to "the return of humans to the moon for long-term exploration and utilization followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations", according to a Nasa review.

Private companies have also been handling supplies delivery to the space station for the past six years, according to the Post.

The space station is a joint effort between several space agencies from around the world.

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The budget request "reflects the administration's confidence that America will lead the way back to the moon and take the next giant leap from where we made that first small step for humanity almost 50 years ago", NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said today in a "State of NASA" address at the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.


Among the concerns amongst space experts about Trump's proposal are the legal liabilities an orbiting, inhabited space station could run into.

But the gyros are not able to change the station's altitude and the USA segment does not include any thrusters or fuel storage tanks.

The view from an on-board camera moments after the Progress supply ship reached orbit. Drug companies like Merck and Eli Lilly have used the space station to research medications.

Privatizing the ISS a wasteful idea. "They've been talking about pulling some of their modules (off) and going off on their own". NASA does a lot of different things.

Another controversial budget proposal would cancel NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope mission, or WFIRST, a top priority in the decadal survey for astrophysics. A smaller Bigelow inflatable is now attached to the lab as a test article.

President Barack Obama continued the transition to hire Boeing and SpaceX to fly astronauts to the station. Mr Trump wants to increase Nasa spending by 3% next year. But the clear goal is a more public-private partnership requiring less government funding. Assembly began in 1998 and the station has been continuously staffed by rotating astronaut-cosmonaut crews since October 2000. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee. "We have invested massively in the ISS". "It is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform". All these things indicate that the USA government is more interested in human explorations of space rather than research and experiments on ISS.

"One could pose the question the other way round and say that the US have now considered using the station beyond 2024 after all, " he said. Mr. Lightfoot had this to say about the President's new budget for NASA.

"It's inherently always going to be an global construct that requires USA government involvement and multinational cooperation", he added.

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