Trump Administration Wants to Privatize the International Space Station


The Washington Post reported on Sunday that, according to a NASA document it obtained, the Trump administration is proposing to make the International Space Station a privately run enterprise by the end of 2025.

Boeing now operates the station for NASA, which costs $3 to $4 billion annually.

The White House will release its budget request on Monday, allocating $150 million in fiscal year 2019 for the space station, the Washington Post said.

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Under the plan, the White House would fund the station as normal through 2024, but at the same time "expand global and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit". The United States has already spent some Dollars 100 billion to launch, operate and support the orbital station. And as The Verge points out, there are several other reasons why this idea will see opposition, but ironically, one of the stand-out points is that losing access to the ISS could actually harm the commercial space industry, which has been using the ISS to test new technologies and equipment, launch probes, and create ... Cruz said he hoped reports of ending station funding would "prove as unfounded as Bigfoot" and blamed it on "numskulls" at the Office of Management and Budget.

The move could present a major roadblock to space exploration. Frank Slazar, the vice president of space systems for the Aerospace Industries Association, pointed out to the Post that the worldwide agreements the USA signed regarding the creation of the ISS would render making it a commercial outpost tricky.

'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, ' argued Cruz, according to the Post. "It's inherently always going to be an global construct that requires US government involvement and multinational cooperation". In 2014, the Obama administration supported funding for the station through 2024, and the potential transfer of the ISS to private hands would mark a significant step in the trend toward private companies engaging in space travel.

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As it prepares a transition plan, the White House said it "will request market analysis and business plans from the commercial sector and solicit plans from commercial industry".

It was not clear, however, how private companies might profit from taking over the aging station - its first section was launched in 1998.

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