Trump Administration Hoping to Privatize International Space Station, Report Claims

Trump Administration Hoping to Privatize International Space Station, Report Claims

The budget to be proposed for NASA later today will offer some preliminary support for a lunar exploration program, but has no specific timelines for when humans might return to the surface of the Moon-nor funding to make such an ambitious undertaking happen.

The administration of US President Donald Trump wants to privatise the International Space Station (ISS) and cut off federal funding for the lab within a few years.

This means that the administration sees an option beyond the ISS being de-orbited in 2025 once the funding dries up.

There is also the worldwide element to think about: As Frank Slazer, vice president of space systems for the Aerospace Industries Association, told The Washington Post, "It will be very hard to turn ISS into a truly commercial outpost because of the global agreements that the United States is involved in". On Monday, a budget proposal was released for the 2019 fiscal year and would have NASA turn over its space station operations to commercial partners.

The US has already spent almost $100 billion on building and operating the ISS, which has some members of government a little uneasy about claims of selling it off to the highest bidder.

Congress has directed NASA to study the feasibility of extending space station operations, which cost about $3 billion a year, to 2028 or 2030.

Acting director Lightfoot said the budget includes $150 million to begin "ramping up" efforts to encourage commercial partners - like SpaceX and Orbital ATK - to take over US space and science operations occurring in low-Earth orbit.

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At the same time, the International Space Station has yet to produce a dime. It also proposes a series of Lunar Exploration and science missions in partnership with industry and would establish the first elements of long-term Lunar Outpost - Gateway as a platform for a range of missions for NASA, as well as worldwide and industry partners.

If the ISS was to be privatized, the big question is who would want to take it over.

The proposal doesn't call for NASA to abandon the space station entirely.

Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences created to enhance student learning, performance and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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.

ISS builds on a long history of space stations that have orbited the Earth since 1971. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The reason the Trump administration is taking a go-slow approach to the return to the moon is that it is unwilling to increase NASA's budget in any way for the foreseeable future. The United States launched its first space station, Skylab, in 1973. NASA is in charge of USA science and technology that has to do with airplanes or space. It may be primarily funded by the USA, but its survival as a station relies heavily upon multinational cooperation and knowledge sharing.

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