Trump plans to privatise International Space Station

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

It's been known for some time that the White House has been considering cutting off funding to the International Space Station by 2025 to free up resources for NASA, an agency US President Donald Trump wants to send astronauts back to the moon but has also proposed should make do with a shoestring budget.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

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.

A report on the tech website The Verge said a draft of the budget proposal anticipated ending funding for the space station after 2024, which the Post report followed up with news that the administration was looking to keep the ISS operational, but not on its dime or under its authority.

Former astronaut Mark Kelly recently wrote in the New York Times that while there has been a surge of commercial activity in low-Earth orbit in the past few years, it would "come to a screeching halt" if the ISS and its government-funded scientific missions which now make those ventures possible were halted. The United States has already spent about $100 billion to build and operate the station; NASA is studying whether its useful life could be extended to 2028 or beyond.

The unmanned spaceship was aiming to reach the station in a record-breaking three-and-a-half hours. Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said he hoped recent reports of NASA's decision to end funding of the station "prove as unfounded as Bigfoot".

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"The ISS is built for science and human exploration, it's not built for profit seeking", said Andrew Rush, the chief executive of Made In Space, a company that uses 3-D printing to manufacture objects on the space station.

"As a fiscal conservative, you know one of the dumbest things you can to is cancel programs after billions in investment when there is still serious usable life ahead", he said. "It's inherently always going to be an global construct that requires USA government involvement and multinational cooperation".

"NASA and the International Space Station partnership is committed to full scientific and technical research on the orbiting laboratory, as it is the foundation on which we will extend human presence deeper into space", a NASA spokesman said in a statement.

The plans to capitalize on space privatization are still in the works and the White House "will request market analysis and business plans from the commercial sector and solicit plans from commercial industry", according to the Post.

The first section of the orbital station was launched in 1998.

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