NASA Is Planning To Privatize International Space Station

James Marshall
February 12, 2018

Rather than ditch the International Space Station when its funding through 2024 ends, the Trump administration is looking to turn it over to the private sector, the Washington Post reports.

Reports have circulated for several weeks that the U.S. government was planning to halt Nasa spending on the programme after 2024 and save up to $4 billion each year. 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 proposal doesn't say what companies would take over or what private enterprise might want to do with the station.

According to Space.com, NASA spokesman Rob Navias said: 'The countdown ended just seconds before liftoff with an abort command that was sent from the blockhouse at Baikonur'.

Frank Slazer, the vice president of space systems for the Aerospace Industries Association, said the plan also could prove sticky with the station's worldwide partners.

"It will be very hard to turn ISS into a truly commercial outpost because of the worldwide agreements that the United States is involved in". "It's inherently always going to be an global construct that requires USA government involvement and multinational cooperation".

The internal NASA document included few details of exactly how the privatisation of the station would work.

The White House will seek market analyses and development plans from the private sector to ensure a smooth transition.

Boeing now operates the station for NASA, which costs $3 to $4 billion annually. The International Space System is, after all, international, and it's unlikely that America's partners in low orbit would be so enthusiastic about the US bringing about the deconstruction of the intergalactic state. Russian Federation has scrubbed the planned launch of an unmanned cargo spacecraft that was to have delivered tons of supplies to the International Space Station. President Obama extended that model to hire Boeing and SpaceX to fly astronauts there.

Their full budget plan is slated to come out tomorrow, when they will apparently ask for $150 million to help groom private companies into potential successors for ISS ownership. Boeing, for their part, was opposed to selling off the station, with Mark Mulqueen (Boeing's space station program manager) claiming that the United States would be throwing away a leadership position in the scientific community.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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