Trump Administration Hoping to Privatize International Space Station, Report Claims

International Space Station | AFP

International Space Station | AFP

At first, $10.5 billion will be funded to NASA in the 2019 fiscal year, which will start on October 1st, to make the preparations for a human exploration of the Moon, as a step forward towards the exploration of Mars, and beyond. Last week, the administration chose to ask for another $300 million, bringing the total to $19.9 billion, NASA chief financial officer Andrew Hunter said.

Private companies have also been handling supplies delivery to the space station for the past six years, according to the Post.

The future of the ISS is up for discussion between the project's partners.

But it's not clear how much NASA would do after 2025.

But the proposed budget would cut the agency's planned Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), which was targeted for launch in the mid-2020s to study mysterious dark energy, alien planets and a range of other cosmic phenomena. "We have a lot of work to do".

Mark Mulqueen, the space station program manager for Boeing, told the Post that pulling government funding for the station would be a "mistake". With the USA cutting its support for the station, it would most likely rely on public-private partnerships, with bulk of the station's upkeep being shouldered by private companies. So the White House's proposal is more a statement of priorities - and not everyone is happy with it.

The budget makes several structural changes to NASA's budget, including ending funding for a separate "Space Technology" directorate created by the Obama administration, and rolling that research into the "Deep Space Exploration Systems" account.

Air travel giant Boeing and Elon Musk's SpaceX are now at work on crew capsule to send USA astronauts to the space station via commercial flight, according to the Post.

Putting $150 million toward commercial development for the space station would be a "great indication" the administration is confident in what the private sector can do, CSF executive director Tommy Sanford told CNN.

"It's imperative, it's critical", Bigelow Aerospace founder and President Robert Bigelow told FOX Business, regarding the White House's budget request.

But key USA legislators and space experts are expressing concern about the plan. The proposal envisions an environment where NASA is "one of many customers of a non-governmental human space flight managed and operated enterprise" at the ISS.

His company's plan is to attach its own compartments to the existing International Space Station and, once the decision is made to dismantle the complex, detach its segment and continue orbiting on its own. NASA pays for launch costs and astronauts' time to run the experiments. More money would be allocated to space exploration and planetary science. Drug companies like Merck and Eli Lilly have used the space station to research medications. Mike Suffredini, a former space station program manager for NASA who now runs Axiom Space in Houston and aims to establish the world's first commercial space station cautioned that the US government needs to have a direct hand in the International Space Station until it comes down.

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