Trump's White House wants to privatise International Space Station by 2025

The rocket will arrive at the International Space Station at 12:24pm

Roscosmos TwitterThe rocket will arrive at the International Space Station at 12:24pm

Some private businesses have already dabbled in space exploration and have contributed to the International Space Station project.

Rather than ditch the International Space Station when its funding through 2024 ends, the Trump administration is looking to turn it over to the private sector, the Washington Post reports.

The space agency next year would invest $150 million as an initial investment in commercial capabilities that by 2025 would provide a "seamless transition" from NASA's existing ISS program.

"The administration's budget for NASA is a nonstarter".

Congress has directed NASA to study the feasibility of extending space station operations, which cost about $3 billion a year, to 2028 or 2030.

His plans for ISS and the Nasa space programme were unveiled in his 2019 budget proposal. "Turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space at a time when we're pushing the frontiers of exploration makes no sense".

The 2019 budget proposal is dominated by space exploration, with over $10 billion allocated to deep space endeavors, including a specific emphasis to "pursue a campaign that would establish US preeminence to, around, and on the Moon".

"The ISS is built for science and human exploration, it's not built for profit seeking", quipped Andrew Rush, the chief executive of Made In Space.

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The company's website says it flies about 600,000 passengers a year on Grand Canyon and other tours. The identities and nationalities of the dead and injured weren't immediately released.

The Trump administration recognizes the benefits of global cooperation in space, the document says, and is willing to expand collaboration with USA allies "while working with a broader range of partners at all levels of capability". Congress earlier this month passed a spending package that set limits through the end of the next budget year.

Another controversial budget proposal would cancel NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope mission, or WFIRST, a top priority in the decadal survey for astrophysics. The president also plans to end education programs in the space agency.

Boeing, along with Elon Musk's SpaceX, are both in the process of developing crew transportation systems to enable USA astronauts to travel on an American-made space vehicle-currently the US pays Russian Federation $80 million per seat to travel on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft. President Barack Obama extended that model to hire Boeing and SpaceX to fly astronauts there. These commercial flights will represent the first astronaut launches from USA soil since NASA's shuttles stopped flying.

A complete transfer to the commercial sector is a different matter, however. Frank Slazar, the vice president of space systems for the Aerospace Industries Association, pointed out to the Post that the global agreements the U.S. signed regarding the creation of the ISS would render making it a commercial outpost tricky. No company would accept the liabilities and risks associated with the station, he said, if the sprawling complex went out of control and came crashing down.

"The total operation of the space station is simply too expensive, " Jan Woerner told newsmen in Paris.

Altogether, the budget seeks to increase NASA's budget slightly to $19.6 billion.

NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said that we are once again on a path to return to the moon with an eye toward Mars. Could that money be used to send astronauts to the Moon - or one day finance a mission to Mars? A test launch of this system would remain on track for 2020, with a first crewed launch around the moon three years later, according to budget details.

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