International Space Station could be privatized under Trump administration plan

International Space Station could be privatized under Trump administration plan

International Space Station could be privatized under Trump administration plan

The White House's proposed five-year budget plan would provide a bigger boost to commercial space efforts, including a potential handover of operations on the International Space Station by 2025 and private-sector moon landings. The budget proposal includes 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.

Around $150 million will go to a new program created to monetize the low-Earth orbit as NASA's cashstash for the International Space Station will run dry by late 2025.

The United States President Donald Trump administration has already slashed funding for NASA, encouraging private companies to venture into the field of outer space, a task already taken up by SpaceX, but may also discontinue funding for the ISS.

The NASA document indicates the administration "will request market analysis and business plans from the commercial sector and solicit plans from commercial industry" as it hammers out a fuller plan. The U.S. has spent over $100 billion to build and operate the space station. Yes, Bigelow Space is indeed working to attach an inflatable habitat to the ISS to act as a space hotel, but privatizing the station is a different matter entirely.

The International Space Station (ISS) is seen in an undated NASA handout picture, June 10, 2015. NASA had been looking at extending the life of the station to 2028 and beyond. WFIRST was the top-priority large project in the most recent U.S. National Research Council Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics, which came out in 2010. Anyone who would take the station over would either need to understand that, or refit it for another goal - namely as a base of operations ahead of jumping out further into our solar system. That's because the Trump administration is now believed to be thinking about privatizing the massive worldwide experiment that orbits the planet. The good news is that the plan sets up partnerships between NASA and the commercial sector to foster privately operated lunar landers that would take instruments, then cargo, and eventually people to the lunar surface.

Boeing, which has been involved with the ISS since 1995, also has a stance on the matter. NASA spends billions every year to maintain and operate it.

As part of a congressionally-mandated ISS transition plan yet to be released, NASA examined several options for the station's future, according to that document.

The station's first component was launched in 1998, and construction continued until the end of the US space shuttle programme in 2011.

"Their momentum continues this year toward the first integrated launch of the system in fiscal year 2020 around the Moon and a mission with crew in 2023", Lightfoot said.

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