Trump's White House wants to privatise International Space Station by 2025
Trump's White House wants to privatise International Space Station by 2025
Roscosmos TwitterThe rocket will arrive at the International Space Station at 12:24pm
15 February, 2018, 07:09
All eyes were on the administration as President Trump unveiled his budget rollout for 2019, and there had been talk of cutting back NASA funding.
Some private businesses have already dabbled in space exploration and have contributed to the International Space Station project. The station's other key partners - Canada, Europe and Japan - have not strongly expressed either a desire to continue using the ISS beyond 2024 or supporting development of other facilities in LEO.
Aeronautics giant Boeing now operates the station - which weighs roughly 460 tons - on behalf of NASA.
The station's first component was launched in 1998, and construction continued until the end of the US space shuttle programme in 2011.
"The administration's budget for NASA is a nonstarter", said U.S. Sen.
The space station now is authorized through 2024 and while many at NASA believe the outpost's lifetime could be extended at least another four years to 2028, no such decisions have been made by the United States and its worldwide partners - Russia, the European Space Agency, Canada and Japan.
But the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 directed NASA "to develop a plan to transition ISS from the current regime that relies heavily on NASA sponsorship to a regime where NASA could be one of many customers of a LEO non-governmental human space flight enterprise". Congress earlier this month passed a spending package that set limits through the end of the next budget year.
But pulling NASA funding would likely still have an effect on the space station's future.
"I'm just delighted that the Trump administration is willing to begin a genuine dialogue that we now have several years to plan", NanoRacks CEO Jeff Manber told FOX Business.
The Soyuz 2-1a booster carrying the Progress MS-08/69P cargo craft took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:13 a.m. EST (GMT-5; 2:13 p.m. local time), streaking away through a cold, overcast sky and climbing directly into the plane of the space station's orbit. President Barack Obama extended that model to hire Boeing and SpaceX to fly astronauts there. NASA is in charge of USA science and technology that has to do with airplanes or space.
"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. No company would accept the liabilities and risks associated with the station, he said, if the sprawling complex went out of control and came crashing down.
"It's a hard issue", Wörner said, however a partly privatized space station would "not be the end of the world".
Almost half of the proposed $19.9 billion budget - $10.5 billion - is earmarked for "an innovative and sustainable campaign of exploration and lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilisation followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations", according to a NASA overview. A test launch of this system would remain on track for 2020, with a first crewed launch around the moon three years later, according to budget details.
The WFIRST was in line after the James Webb Space Telescope, which is going to be launched in 2019, as the next big thing in astronomy mission.
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The space station is an global partnership, and it's not clear what privatizing the US portion would mean for the other countries. The proposed budget would continue support for those endeavors, NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said Monday.
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