The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a commercially run venture, NASA document shows.
President Trump’s newly released 2019 budget proposal seeks to end U.S. government funding for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025.
So, the White House plans to end direct federal support of the orbiting laboratory. However, it does not intend to abandon the orbiting laboratory altogether. Currently is working on a transition plan that could turn the station over to the private sector, the Washington Post reported.
“NASA will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit,” the document states.
For more than two decades NASA has supported the ISS. Thus, contributing between $3 billion and $4 billion to the project yearly. The U.S. has contributed about $100 billion to the station over this time.
Now, through this proposal, the Trump administration will allocate millions of dollars to pursue privatization of the station and returning American astronauts to the moon.
“We’re building capability for the eventual human exploration of deep space and the moon is a stepping stone,” said Andrew Hunter, NASA’s acting chief financial officer, on Monday, according to The Washington Post.
The Post reported that the White House will request $150 million from Congress for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. That is in order “to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial successors to the ISS —potentially including elements of the ISS — are operational when they are needed.”
We don’t know yet which companies are looking forward to taking over the station or how they might use it in the future.
Currently, Boeing is operating the space laboratory on behalf of NASA, at a cost of between $3 and $4 billion.
Thumbnail image credit: NASA/Crew of STS-132