March 22, 2018

Trump administration budget may end support for International Space Station by 2025

28 January 2018, 12:36 | Antonio Miles

Nasa could pull out of ISS after Trump administration hints at dropping funding by 2025

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The Trump administration would like to avoid a situation in which NASA is the sole or even principle customer of a commercial space station. However, the simple fact that it contains details that include ending support for the ISS in 2025 suggests that there is a sentiment of that nature in the White House.

As of now, the U.S. government spends about $3bn (£2.1bn) to $4bn a year on the ISS, representing a total investment of over $87bn in the project that has spanned over 20 years now. A NASA spokesperson did release a statement to The Verge, saying: "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".

The official draft will be released February 12, but leaders in the space industry are already calling the measure a bad idea. The White House plans to end NASA's funding for ISS by 2025, according to a draft 2019 budget proposal seen by the Verge.

An extension to the Station's funding in 2014 means that it will remain in operation to 2024, but its fate after that is ambiguous, with no firm decision from Congress.

Astronauts Scott Tingle and Mark Vande Hei, crewmembers of the Expedition 54 aboard the International Space Station (ISS), spent about 6.5 hours outside the space station.

When the agency was asked about the budget proposal, a representative of NASA reiterated its commitment to the ISS without commenting on the leaked document.

An artist's rendering shows Sierra Nevada Corp.'s concept for a deep-space habitat.

The President also wants NASA to lead a space exploration program that would look to send astronauts not only back to the Moon but also to Mars.

Two other companies, Axiom, and Nanoracks, are planning commercial space stations.

As the ISS de-orbits, the world will be in need a of a new space station; Axiom is taking on this challenge, creating the first worldwide commercial space station to host government astronauts, private companies, and individual explorers alike.

To compensate for the lack of space shuttles, the plan was to get private companies involved. The Verge said an intention to cancel funding could signal to global partners the United States isn't interested in the program's continuation - and many of those partners haven't yet decided if they'll keep working on the effort after 2024.

In the same appearance, he also touched upon the future of the ISS.

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