Trump proposes to privatize International Space Station by 2025

Ted Cruz

Almost half of the proposed $19.9 billion budget - $10.5 billion - is earmarked for "an innovative and sustainable campaign of exploration and lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilisation followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations", according to a NASA overview. Last year, Russian Federation revealed plans to build a luxury hotel on the station - however, the Trump administration's decision to cut funding in 2024 would make it impossible for the hotel to turn a profit sooner than that.

"Their momentum continues this year toward the first integrated launch of the system in fiscal year 2020 around the Moon and a mission with crew in 2023", Mr Lightfoot said.

"The ISS is built for science and human exploration, it's not built for profit seeking", said Andrew Rush, the chief executive of Made In Space, a company that uses 3-D printing to manufacture objects on the space station.

Congress has directed NASA to study the feasibility of extending space station operations, which cost about $3 billion a year, to 2028 or 2030.

NASA could stop funding to the International Space Station after 2024, at which point a commercial venture could take over.

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Democrat senator Bill Nelson of Florida, who was once an astronaut himself, said "turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space" made no sense.

Beginning during the presidency of George W Bush (2001- 2009), NASA has subcontracted certain ISS support operations, starting with the supply flights now carried out by the SpaceX and Orbital ATK companies - a trend that gained speed during the Obama presidency.

Even if it weren't, it's not clear how a privatized space station could operate. The end of the shuttle program prompted NASA to turn over supply runs to the commercial sector.

And SpaceX and Boeing are each developing spacecrafts to send astronauts to and from the space station. These commercial flights will represent the first astronaut launches from US soil since NASA's shuttles stopped flying.

The 2019 NASA budget would be $19.9 billion, but it would drop down to $19.6 billion for the next several years.

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Air travel giant Boeing and Elon Musk's SpaceX are now at work on crew capsule to send USA astronauts to the space station via commercial flight, according to the Post.

The American leader stressed out that this time, the mission on the moon will not only follow the installation of the United States flag and to just leave traces on the lunar ground, but also to establish "the main base for a possible journey to Mars".

NASA's acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot, called the plan "very exciting" with lots of potential, despite what he said were some hard decisions that went into it.

When that mission launches, it will be the first human mission to the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972. Among them: the proposed end of WFIRST, a telescope with 100 times the field of view of the Hubble Space Telescope. The budget for the mission was already being trimmed down after it was found to be getting too costly.

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