Trump proposes to privatize 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

The Trump administration is proposing to end direct government support of the International Space Station in 2025, but plans to include $150 million in NASA's fiscal 2019 budget, to be unveiled Monday, to begin work on transitioning, if possible, to a more commercially focused outpost, according to an internal NASA review.

NASA's 2019 budget request formalizes the agency's handover of human-spaceflight activities in low-Earth orbit to private industry, in favor of a shift toward the moon.

"The budget proposes to end direct United States financial support for the International Space Station in 2025, after which NASA would rely on commercial partners for its low Earth orbit research and technology demonstration requirements,", which was released on Monday.

That is the wish of the White House, which hopes to end funding for the costly program within a few years, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. He said the decision was the result of "numbskulls" at the Office of Management and Budget. "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, though he qualified that he was open to "reasonable proposals". "If we're ever going to get to Mars with humans on board and return them safely, then we need a larger funding increase for NASA", Nelson said in a statement, according to the Miami Herald.

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But some questioned who would want to take over the station. Andrew Rush, chief executive of 3-D printing company Made In Space, said plainly that the ISS isn't built for profit seeking.

A Russian Progress cargo ship carrying three tons of supplies and equipment blasted off from Kazakhstan early Tuesday and set off after the International Space Station. He added that passing over the burden to private sectors is not as easy as it sounds, because of the worldwide agreements surrounding the ISS. "It's inherently always going to be an global construct that requires US government involvement and multi-national cooperation".

The ISS, which has been in orbit since 1998, is operated by Boeing and costs NASA $3 to $4 billion annually.

According to The Washington Post, the USA government is hoping to make the Space Station a sort of real estate venture ran by private organizations.

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But any transition to a more private-sector operation using any part of the International Space Station would be hard given the lab's design. 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".

Private businesses are already involved in several space projects.

Beginning during the presidency of George W Bush (2001- 2009), NASA has subcontracted certain ISS support operations, starting with the supply flights now carried out by the SpaceX and Orbital ATK companies - a trend that gained speed during the Obama presidency.

SpaceX and Boeing, meanwhile, are developing crew capsules to fly astronauts to and from the space station within the next year.

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The ISS, which orbits some 400 kilometres above Earth, is now supported in a joint project by the U.S., Russian, Japanese and European space agencies.

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