The Trump administration wants to privatize the International Space Station

15 February, 2018, 07:07 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Ted Cruz

The Trump administration has made a decision to end the U.S. government funding for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025 under its 2019 proposed budget.

The budget proposal, due to be released February 12, will include a request for $150 million to support the development of commercial capabilities in low Earth orbit to succeed the ISS, for which NASA could be a customer, according to an internal agency document obtained by SpaceNews.

Instead, the White House wants private businesses to invest in the ISS, and is setting aside 150 million dollars (£108 million) to encourage commercial development of the outpost.

The newly unveiled request gives some more details about NASA's plans to return astronauts to the moon, a focus that President Donald Trump made official with the signing of "Space Policy Directive 1" in December. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who rocketed into orbit in 1986, said "turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space" makes no sense.

Almost half of the proposed $19.9 billion budget - $10.5 billion - is earmarked for "an innovative and sustainable campaign of exploration and lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilisation followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations", according to a NASA overview.

Air travel giant Boeing and Elon Musk's SpaceX are now at work on crew capsule to send US astronauts to the space station via commercial flight, according to the Post.

But pulling NASA funding would likely still have an effect on the space station's future.

Mark Mulqueen, the space station program manager for Boeing, told the Post that pulling government funding for the station would be a "mistake". Last year, Russian Federation revealed plans to build a luxury hotel on the station - however, the Trump administration's decision to cut funding in 2024 would make it impossible for the hotel to turn a profit sooner than that.


A complete transfer to the commercial sector is a different matter, however. "We were very pleased, we thought the administration showed confidence in the USA that we can accomplish something not just for NASA but for the nation".

"We're building capability for the eventual human exploration of deep space and the moon is a stepping stone", NASA's acting chief financial officer, Andrew Hunter, said.

SpaceX and Boeing, meanwhile, are developing crew capsules to fly astronauts to and from the space station within the next year.

A report says the Trump administration is planning to privatize the International Space Station (ISS).

Lightfoot ended things by saying we are once again on a path to return to the Moon with an eye towards Mars.

The draft transition proposal states that a platform of some sort in low-Earth orbit is needed for medical research to learn more about the long-term medical impacts of the space environment and to develop the life support and other critical systems needed for eventual long-term stays on the moon or even longer flights to Mars. No man has returned to the moon since December 11th, 1972, during the Apollo 17 mission.

The WFIRST telescope's cost estimates have ballooned to $3.6 billion and Hunter said it just got too expensive.

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