Sci-tech

Trump Wants to Put the ISS in the Hands of Private Industry

Trump Wants to Put the ISS in the Hands of Private Industry

In January, reports leaked that the Trump administration wanted to cut off funding to the International Space Station after 2025, and this weekend, The Washington Post obtained a government document suggesting the station should be completely privatized by 2024.

In his 2019 budget for the US government, Trump on February 12 proposed to end NASA funding for the space station by 2025.

The United States President Donald Trump administration has already slashed funding for NASA, encouraging private companies to venture into the field of outer space, a task already taken up by SpaceX, but may also discontinue funding for the ISS. As it prepares a transition plan, the White House said it "will request market analysis and business plans from the commercial sector and solicit plans from commercial industry".

According to the documents, the White House plans to stop contributing to the ISS after 2024 which has attracted a raft of criticism from USA senators - especially since the nation spent $US100 billion to use and operate it.

Then, in July 2017, NASA furthered its agreement with CASIS to September 2024, which increased the total cost to $196 million, according to an audit by the NASA Office of Inspector General.

Interestingly, the internal NASA document actually provided next-to-nothing in regards of how privatisation of the ISS would actually work.

USA aerospace and defense company Boeing (BA) operates the ISS for NASA, being selected as the prime contractor for the Space Station in 1993 and a cost-plus-award-fee contract with NASA that began in 1995. In 2014, the Obama administration was able to extend support to the ISS until 2024.

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A Russian resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was automatically aborted at the last minute. Not only is the ISS used as a place for science and human exploration, but turning a profit from research projects just isn't what it was built for.

But some questioned who would want to take over the station. It could also be too soon for the private sector to have such an asset, a concern expressed by Mark Mulqueen, Boeing's space station program manager.

In other words, Mr Trump is looking to sell off the USA stake in the space station, enabling private companies and groups - like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic - to use the ISS for their own projects. The space agency awarded a 10-year, $136 million cooperative agreement to the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to manage non-NASA reach activities on the National Laboratory-the USA section of the Space Station.

NASA has spent close to $100 billion on the orbiting outpost since the 1990s.

His company's plan is to attach its own compartments to the existing International Space Station and, once the decision is made to dismantle the complex, detach its segment and continue orbiting on its own.

The continued development of the Boeing-built Space Launch System and the Lockheed Martin-made Orion spacecraft for a deep space exploration mission in 2020 would be funded in the proposed budget.