NASA budget proposal plans of NASA funding of ISS, seeks commercial transition

NASA could stop funding to the International Space Station after 2024, at which point a commercial venture could take over.

Russian Federation already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: "We have a Napoleon in the making" MORE's newly released 2019 budget proposal seeks to end USA government funding for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025.

But it also includes $150m (£108m) to "encourage commercial development" at ISS to replace American payments.

Many space experts and legislators are expressing concern. Sen.

The draft transition proposal states that a platform of some sort in low-Earth orbit is needed for medical research to learn more about the long-term medical impacts of the space environment and to develop the life support and other critical systems needed for eventual long-term stays on the moon or even longer flights to Mars.

Involved with the station since 1995, Boeing operates the station for NASA for an annual cost of around US$3 billion to $4 billion. The document says "increasing investments" above that $150 million will be included in future years' budget requests.

To support and facilitate a transition to a commercially-focused platform in the mid 2020s, one in which NASA could be one of several users, "the administration is proposing to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 under the current NASA-directed operating model".

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The potential is there for private companies to capitalize on a chance to control the ISS and the low Earth orbit it resides in. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who flew to space in 1986, "The administration's budget for NASA is a nonstarter".

The space station is scheduled to operate through 2024.

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".

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".

The proposal doesn't call for NASA to abandon the space station entirely.

WFIRST's cancellation is "due to its significant cost and [the presence of] higher priorities within NASA", according to the budget overview. Andrew Rush, chief executive of 3-D printing company Made In Space, said plainly that the ISS isn't built for profit seeking. With the US cutting its support for the station, it would most likely rely on public-private partnerships, with bulk of the station's upkeep being shouldered by private companies. Both nations are required for the space station to function with any degree of safety using separate flight control centers.

In 2015, Congress guaranteed funding for the U.S. part of the International Space Station until 2024. The proposed budget would continue support for those endeavors, NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said Monday.

  • Douglas Reid