Trump administration proposes 'privatising' International Space Station

Cesar Mills
February 15, 2018

Donald Trump has said in the past that one of NASA's top priorities will be to send people back to the moon but the budget announcement states that will not happen before he leaves office even if he is elected to a second term, the New York Times reports.

In late January, U.S. media reported, citing a draft budget proposal, that the Trump administration may stop funding the ISS programme by 2025.

It was reported past year that the International Space Station could be decommissioned by 2024 but if a new report is to be believed, that might not happen.

"If you look when they're first going to start launching those with crews to the ISS in the 2020 timeframe, there's not that many years before the end of the station".

NASA reportedly wants to refocus its efforts on exploring deep space once low Earth orbit flights to the ISS are fully privatized.

Both Sanford and Slazer said there are concerns regarding a premature termination of the ISS, which Slazer says is committed for service "through 2024, but it has capabilities to go to at least 2028". Over the years, the USA government has also been able to dock spacecraft with the space lab or launch satellites into orbit from there.

But why would the USA want to sell the ISS while it's still operational, you ask? Weightlessness seems to alter brain structure, switches genes on and off, impairs vision, and causes muscle atrophy.

At the same time, the International Space Station has yet to produce a dime.

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While the Trump budget plan says it places renewed support on returning humans to the moon, followed by human expeditions to Mars and elsewhere, few details are provided. NASA is in charge of US science and technology that has to do with airplanes or space.

In his 2019 budget for the USA government, Trump on February 12 proposed to end NASA funding for the space station by 2025. The U.S. now pays $80 million per seat to travel on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft. Under Trump's proposed budget, Washington would pull governmental funding and instead provide a budget of $150 million (122 million euros) to encourage the involvement of private enterprise in the ISS.

The future of the ISS is up for discussion between the project's partners. The political backlash would be intense, to say the least. The administration is now mulling the idea of handing over the International Space Station to the private industry.

"The administration's budget for NASA is a nonstarter", said U.S. Sen.

"As a fiscal conservative, you know one of the dumbest things you can do is cancel programs after billions in investment when there is still serious usable life ahead", Senator Cruz said, according to the Post.

Who will buy the ISS?

The aborted launch touches a sensitive issue in Russian Federation after multiple failed launch attempts over the previous year, and in light of Elon Musk's SpaceX's launch of a heavy-lift rocket ahead of Roscosmos.

Other reports by GizPress

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