Trump mulling privatization of International Space Station: report

Trump mulling privatization of International Space Station: report
© WhiteHouse.gov

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to oust Nielsen as early as this week: report California wildfire becomes deadliest in state’s history Sinema’s Senate win cheered by LGBTQ groups MORE's administration is considering a plan to privatize the International Space Station (ISS) after its federal funding ends in 2024, according to The Washington Post.

“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,” an internal NASA document obtained by the Post reads. “NASA will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit.”

The administration will reportedly ask for $150 million in the 2019 fiscal year in its budget request on Monday.
The transition will take place over a period of time, and the funds requested are meant “to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial successors to the ISS — potentially including elements of the ISS — are operational when they are needed.”
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment. 
The Verge reported last month that Trump was planning to request an end to funding for the International Space Station by 2025.
The move could present a major roadblock to space exploration.
“NASA and the International Space Station partnership is committed to full scientific and technical research on the orbiting laboratory, as it is the foundation on which we will extend human presence deeper into space,” a NASA spokesman said in a statement, according to the Post.
The proposed plan has also been met with opposition from some lawmakers.
“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,” Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzProgressives flex muscles as Dems return to Washington Election Countdown: Florida braces for volatile recount | Counties race to finish machine recount | Trump ramps up attacks | Abrams files new lawsuit in Georgia | 2020 to be new headache for Schumer | Why California counts its ballots so slowly Beto supporters urged to 'upgrade' campaign signs for 2020 run MORE (R-Texas) said, according to the Post, referring to $100 billion of U.S. funds to build and operate the station. 
The space station program manager of Boeing, which has been involved with the ISS for more than 20 years, warned of privatizing the station. 
"Walking away from the International Space Station now would be a mistake, threatening American leadership and hurting the commercial market as well as the scientific community," Mark Mulqueen said in a statement to the Post. "Handing over a rare national asset to commercial enterprises before the private sector is ready to support it could have disastrous consequences for American leadership in space and for the chances of building space-focused private enterprise."