Trump administration proposes 'privatising' International Space Station


However, it would not be an easy task for the Trump administration and the move is expected to face severe opposition since the country has already spent around Dollars 100 billion to launch, operate and support the International Space Station. As the Guardian noted, since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 NASA has no means to get astronauts into space and now relies on Russian Soyuz rockets to get them to the ISS; private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin won't launch manned missions to low Earth orbit until this September at the earliest.

Boeing already operates the station for the US government, with taxpayers paying the company around $3 to $4 billion annually.

Privatizing the ISS a wasteful idea.

It had been reported that the Trump administration was ready to pull the plug on the space station.

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This NASA TV video grab image shows NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei (left) and Scott Tingle as they step out on a spacewalk to fix the robotic arm at the International Space Station.

There is already opposition - from both the private sector, and within Trump's own party. Anyone who would take the station over would either need to understand that, or refit it for another objective - namely as a base of operations ahead of jumping out further into our solar system.

"The ISS is built for science and human exploration, it's not built for profit seeking", said Andrew Rush, the chief executive of Made In Space, a company that uses 3-D printing to manufacture objects on the space station.

Boeing, which has been involved with the ISS since 1995, also has a stance on the matter.

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Mark Mulqueen, Boeing's space station programme manager, said: "Walking away from the International Space Station now would be a mistake, threatening American leadership and hurting the commercial market as well as the scientific community". Frank Slazar, the vice president of space systems for the Aerospace Industries Association, pointed out to the Post that the global agreements the United States signed regarding the creation of the ISS would render making it a commercial outpost tricky.

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The proposal doesn't say what companies would take over or what private enterprise might want to do with the station. Now low Earth operations are handled by the likes of SpaceX, Blue Origins and Orbital ATK. "In support of enabling a timely development and transition of commercial capabilities in LEO where NASA could be one of many customers in the mid-2020s, the Administration is proposing to end direct Federal support for the ISS in 2025 under the current NASA-directed operating model", the document states.

Alongside the lack of plans regarding how such a transition would take place, the NASA document doesn't even happen to state reasons for why anyone would want to buy the ISS in the first place. This is because the International Space Station was never meant to make money.

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