International Space Station could be privatized under Trump administration plan

Russian rocket to reach International Space Station in record breaking time

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that, according to a NASA document it obtained, the Trump administration is proposing to make the International Space Station a privately run enterprise by the end of 2025.

"The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time - it is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform".

It's not clear how putting the station in private hands would work, since the ISS is an global program involving a number of other countries.

The administration will reportedly ask for $150 million in the 2019 fiscal year in its budget request on Monday.

As the Post notes, the station is no stranger to private industry; Boeing now operates it at a cost of $3 to $4 billion a year.

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The NASA document indicates the administration "will request market analysis and business plans from the commercial sector and solicit plans from commercial industry" as it hammers out a fuller plan.

Not surprisingly, this proposal isn't incredibly popular. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently trashed reports of NASA deciding to stop funding the ISS. He also argued that it would be "one of the dumbest things" to stop funding an asset with "serious usable life ahead".

Reports of plans to privatise the ISS has been met with some opposition. 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.

This project is crucial to gaining a better understanding of human health in space, so we can help keep our astronauts safe...and one day, maybe even the population of our world as we travel into deep space. NASA would just be one of the ISS or that theoretical future private space station's clients, reversing the current arrangement where NASA personnel and their worldwide partners manage the station and conduct onboard experiments. As the Guardian noted, since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 NASA has no means to get astronauts into space and now relies on Russian Soyuz rockets to get them to the ISS; private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin won't launch manned missions to low Earth orbit until this September at the earliest. Although: Trump tweeted his congratulations to Elon Musk and SpaceX earlier this week.

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