Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Science | By Hubert Green

Under Draft Trump Administration Plan, ISS Funding Will Be Cut, Station Privatized

Under Draft Trump Administration Plan, ISS Funding Will Be Cut, Station Privatized

Reports have circulated for several weeks that the USA government was planning to halt Nasa spending on the programme after 2024 and save up to $4 billion each year.

As per the document, end of direct federal support should not imply that the orbiting laboratory, which is now contracted to Boeing and costs NASA more than $3 billion every year, itself will be "deorbited" at that time. It is entirely possible for industry representatives to continue to manage certain elements or functions of the ISS within a future commercial platform.

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 worldwide 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, possibly succumbing to the sunk cost fallacy.

The Trump administration, which previously said that it wants to cut International Space Station funding by 2025, is apparently thinking about turning it over to the private sector.

The United States President Donald Trump administration has already slashed funding for NASA, encouraging private companies to venture into the field of outer space, a task already taken up by SpaceX, but may also discontinue funding for the ISS. The plan to privatize the station, meanwhile, will likely also be met with resistance, as the White House has already poured nearly $100 billion investments into it. In other words, to transition to some sort of a public-private partnership.The document says NASA will expand worldwide and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to "ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit".

The space station is a joint effort between several space agencies from around the world.


The U.S. plan involves privatizing the ISS, a low-Earth-orbit space station piloted by the U.S. space agency NASA and developed jointly with its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos.

NASA will release its budget proposal Monday, and the privatization plan will reportedly be included.

The station has allowed worldwide crews - notably in collaboration with the Canadian, European and Japanese space agencies - to pursue scientific research in LEO conditions.

Will The International Space Station Really Go Private?

It was not clear, however, how private companies might profit from taking over the aging station - its first section was launched in 1998.

The end of federal funding for the ISS would not necessarily mean the end of the station, or at least some parts of it, according to the document.

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