Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Donald Trump to cut budget for International Space Station (ISS) via privatization

Donald Trump to cut budget for International Space Station (ISS) via privatization

Frank Slazer, the vice-president of space systems for the Aerospace Industries Association, said the plan also could prove sticky with the station's global partners. So when you think about it, for a private company to get their employees to work on the ISS, that is a lot of travel expense.

"I really, really appreciate the administration raising the issue now", NanoRacks CEO Jeff Manber told CNBC.

$10.5 billion to be exact is proposed for exploration which Stennis Space Center plays a vital role in.

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.

But why would the United States want to sell the ISS while it's still operational, you ask?

"Keeping these advances on track, both technologically and as groundwork for establishing a commercial marketplace in low Earth orbit, is critical". The modules built by Bigelow expand once they are deployed in orbit.

Both Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Elon Musk's SpaceX are developing crew transportation systems to enable USA astronauts to travel on an American-made space vehicle.

Russian Federation in particular has expressed an interest in developing its own space station after the ISS, potentially using some of the modules the country's space agency, Roscosmos, plans to add to its segment of the station in the next few years.

However, with the future of the ISS in question over the next decade, he said the field is "open to interesting and innovative approaches for how to continue to make best use of this very expensive and quite extraordinary orbiting laboratory". That doesn't mean that the space station will be retired or destroyed though. "There are agreements in place with nearly 30 other nations for the space station". "For us, it's really that we want to see that ultimate return to the American taxpayer, and any sort of artificial cut-off day as opposed to a natural transition would likely dampen that ability". Privatizing the station was one of the options brought up in a House Subcommittee on Space hearing a year ago, with advocates saying that a transition to commercial hands would allow for continued operations. Now low Earth operations are handled by the likes of SpaceX, Blue Origins and Orbital ATK. Only a few elements "might be severable", Slazer added, saying that there "are details that have yet to be worked out".

"We're once again on a path to the moon, with an eye toward Mars", Lightfoot said.

NASA spends about $3.5 billion annually on the ISS, including launches of cargo and astronauts.

NASA reportedly wants to refocus its efforts on exploring deep space once low Earth orbit flights to the ISS are fully privatized.

"Let's keep in mind that this is a market in its infancy and our competition right now are governments", Manber said.

Many scientists and space experts have started expressing concerns regarding Trump's proposal of cutting government funding for the ISS.

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