WaPo: Trump admin looking to privatize International Space Station


WaPo: Trump admin looking to privatize International Space Station

According to NASA documents, the government intends to turn the International Space Station over to the private sector as a means of keeping it afloat without direct federal support, which is expected to end in 2025. Skeptics say that this is troubling, as the ISS was built for science, not business.

It continues, "NASA will expand worldwide and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit". Cruz said he hoped reports of ending station funding would "prove as unfounded as Bigfoot" and blamed it on "numskulls" at the Office of Management and Budget.

The ISS, which has been in orbit since 1998, is operated by Boeing and costs NASA $3 to $4 billion annually.

Initiatives included in administration budget proposals are not necessarily reflected in the appropriations authorized by Congress, and, as the Post noted, a plan to phase out the ISS would likely face pushback from lawmakers. "As a fiscal conservative, you know one of the dumbest things you can to is cancel programs after billions in investment when there is still serious usable life ahead", he said, though he qualified that he was open to "reasonable proposals". Frank Slazar, the vice president of space systems for the Aerospace Industries Association, pointed out to the Post that the worldwide agreements the United States signed regarding the creation of the ISS would render making it a commercial outpost tricky. "The launch of Russia's Progress 69 resupply ship to the space station today has been aborted", Nasa said on Sunday on its Twitter page for updates from the ISS.

The internal NASA document has scant details over how the privatization of the station would work.

The transition of the station would mark another bold step for NASA in turning over access to whats known as low Earth orbit to the private sector so that the space agency could focus its resources on exploring deep space. President Barack Obama extended that model to hire Boeing and SpaceX to fly astronauts there.

It didnt immediately propose what private enterprise might do with the station or which companies might take it over.