Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Trump Budget Would Privatize the International Space Station, Make NASA a 'Customer'

Trump Budget Would Privatize the International Space Station, Make NASA a 'Customer'

"But all of this will come to a screeching halt (though you won't hear the "screech" in the vacuum of space) if the Trump administration ends funding for the International Space Station program beyond 2024, a step it is considering".

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. "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".

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It also doesn't seem to take into account how other space agencies around the world would feel about such a move, seeing as this is supposed to be an global space station. Astronauts have lived in space every day since the year 2000, performing research that could not be done on Earth otherwise.

Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences created to enhance student learning, performance and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Some lawmakers already have said the plan won't fly in its present form, primarily because of the plan to cut space station funding.

The proposal included plans to end support for the International Space Station (ISS) in 2025, as well the cancellation of NASA's next flagship astronomy mission, along with five Earth Science missions.

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In President Trump's new proposal it does include more rocket testing with hopes of sending people further into deep space.

The budget also confirms the cancellation of five Earth-science missions proposed for termination a year ago.

The International Space Station. The end of the shuttle program prompted NASA to turn over the business of supplying the station to private firms. Both Boeing, which operates the station for NASA, and the Elon Musk-helmed SpaceX have been developing crew transportation systems for trips to the station. NASA is in charge of USA science and technology that has to do with airplanes or space. To do this, NASA will consolidate other projects and rely more on public-private partnerships, including on the International Space Station, where direct public funding would be eliminated in the next few years. What would private companies do in a space station designed for science, especially if they won't have complete control over it?

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Boeing, which operates the ISS for NASA, also opposes Trump's plan. But this isn't the first sign NASA has wanted to redirect its ISS budget during those years. NASA's acting administrator hinted Monday that the big new SpaceX Falcon Heavy, test-launched last week, may do some of the heavy lifting to get the new moon station into space. "At the same time, we are concerned about the proposed cancellation of the Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST), which was the New Worlds New Horizons Decadal Survey's highest-ranked large space initiative". The current annual tab is between $3 and $4 billion.

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