Space

US seeks to privatize its share in the International Space Station

US seeks to privatize its shar...
The Trump administration wants to hand the US commitment to the ISS to private industry in 2025 
The Trump administration wants to hand the US commitment to the ISS to private industry in 2025 
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Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot discusses the fiscal year 2019 budget proposal during a State of NASA address
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Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot discusses the fiscal year 2019 budget proposal during a State of NASA address
Acting NASA administrator Robert Ligfhtfoot
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Acting NASA administrator Robert Ligfhtfoot
The Trump administration wants to hand the US commitment to the ISS to private industry in 2025 
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The Trump administration wants to hand the US commitment to the ISS to private industry in 2025 
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In one of the most remarkable handovers in the history of space exploration, the Trump administration has proposed handing the American commitment to the International Space Station (ISS) over to private enterprise. In a statement by acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, the proposed US$19 billion NASA budget for Fiscal Year 2019 emphasizes a policy shift toward exploration missions that includes a proposal to cease direct participation by the US government in space station operations after its present commitment expires in 2025.

Born as a Cold War project in the 1980s, by the time the first components of the ISS were lofted into space in 1998, it had morphed into an international partnership of 15 nations dedicated to the construction and operation of the $150 billion station. The original commitment by the United States was set to end after 2024, which was regarded as the original limit to the station's service life, but in recent years, there have been proposals to extend the mission until 2028, by which time the orbital laboratory will no longer be safe to operate.

Though there had been hopes that NASA would continue to directly participate in the ISS after 2024, the Trump administration has confirmed that it prefers the space agency to concentrate more on exploration missions, including a return to the Moon and eventual deep space missions to Mars with a proposed exploration budget for 2019 of $5 billion. Under the proposal, NASA would continue development of the Space Launch System rocket, the Orion spacecraft and the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway to support robotic and manned lunar missions.

Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot discusses the fiscal year 2019 budget proposal during a State of NASA address
Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot discusses the fiscal year 2019 budget proposal during a State of NASA address

"This budget focuses NASA on its core exploration mission and reinforces the many ways that we return value to the US through knowledge and discoveries, strengthening our economy and security, deepening partnerships with other nations, providing solutions to tough problems, and inspiring the next generation," says Lightfoot. "It places NASA and the US once again at the forefront of leading a global effort to advance humanity's future in space, and draws on our nation's great industrial base and capacity for innovation and exploration."

As part of this shift, the government would provide $150 million to promote commercial spaceflight and the transition of low Earth orbit activities to private companies. This includes inviting commercial vendors to take over US station operations in 2025.

Acting NASA administrator Robert Ligfhtfoot
Acting NASA administrator Robert Ligfhtfoot

"We've used the International Space Station as the cornerstone for pushing human presence farther into space, with a horizon goal of humans to Mars," says Lightfoot. "This includes learning about the human physiology of spaceflight and enabling new industry partners to bring to bear their capabilities and emerge as leaders in their own right to help us on this journey. The commercial cargo and crew work continues through the life of the International Space Station in the budget. Further, this budget proposes for NASA to ramp up efforts to transition low-Earth activities to the commercial sector, and end direct federal government support of the ISS in 2025 and begin relying on commercial partners for our low-Earth orbit research and technology demonstration requirements."

Because NASA is the single largest partner in the ISS, there have been concerns that its refusal to extend its commitment will affect other nations' resolve to carry on with the station until 2028.

Source: NASA

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5 comments
ChairmanLMAO
So the only thing left NASA has to offer is bureaucracy?
Wolf0579
After having it's budget strangled by republicans who then turn around and just give the money to corporations, I'm surprised NASA has ANYTHING left to offer the US aside from it's vision.
Derek Howe
Wolf0579 - The "evil" republicans INCREASED NASA's budget...my god, some people are so entrenched in their party for being so superior, that they can't tell the difference between black & white. Please leave your partisans at the door.
CLVF
Wolf0579, Derek Howe, it would appear you are both wrong; A cursory google search and good 'ol Wikipedia would seem to show NASA's effective budget as adjusted for the value of the dollar to be toggling up and down over the last four administrations, with a noticeable drop starting with the 2010 election of a Republican House majority. It has been both increased and cut under Democratic and Republican Presidents and majorities.
So yeah, again, you are both wrong.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA#Political_opposition_to_earth_science_programs
Derek Howe
I wasn't wrong, I was simply telling him to stop looking at the world through the eyes of Republican & Democrat.