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

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

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

Retired NASA historian Roger Launius said the plan would affect all the other countries involved in the space station, including Russian Federation and countries in Europe and Asia that have participated in space-station projects.

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

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Space, said last week that it had to be "numbskulls" at the Office of Management and Budget who proposed ending federal funding for the space station, The New York Times reported.

The president proposes shifting large chunks of money from the space station, satellites studying a warming Earth and a major space telescope toward a multi-year $10.4 billion exploration plan aimed at returning astronauts to the moon in about five or six years.

"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.

The approach the administration has chosen is one that would end NASA funding of the ISS in 2025, while offering support for the development of commercial successors. Shown here: an artist's depiction of NASA's Deep Space Gateway in orbit near the moon. (Certainly these would not occur before 2024, the previous year of a Trump presidency if he were to win a second term). The president also plans to end education programs in the space agency.

Mark Mulqueen, the space station program manager for Boeing, told the Post that pulling government funding for the station would be a "mistake". SpaceX CEO Elon Musk claimed his company is ahead of the rest of the space industry.

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And SpaceX and Boeing are each developing spacecrafts to send astronauts to and from the space station.

A complete transfer to the commercial sector is a different matter, however.

"The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time - it is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform", reads an internal NASA document obtained by the Washington Post. 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.

A view of the International Space Station's power-generating solar arrays taken by an astronaut in January 2017.

The $19.9 billion spending plan for 2019, up about $400 million from this year, seeks to refocus human exploration on the moon and shift responsibility for low Earth orbit missions to industry or worldwide partners.

According to the Washington Post report, the Trump administration wants to extend the public-private partnership one step further to encourage "the emergence of an environment in [low-Earth orbit] where NASA is one of many customers of a non-governmental human space flight managed and operated enterprise, while providing a smooth and uninterrupted transition".

When that mission launches, it will be the first human mission to the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972.

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