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Trump Proposes Privatizing US Operations On Space Station

15 February 2018

The FY 2019 budget provides a top-line number of $19.892 billion for NASA, an increase over the FY 2018 budget of $19.519 billion that is largely attributable to the recent budget agreement passed by Congress, which raises spending levels for defense and discretionary spending. The agency would work with "commercial partners" for research and other projects.

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

The proposal has stated that given budget constraints and competing priorities at the US space agency, it is not the administration's priority to develop one more huge space telescope soon after the completion of the James Webb telescope that costs $ 8.8 billion. The transition draft says NASA will continue to consult with its worldwide partners "to ensure consensus".

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei captured this selfie with his helmet visor up during a spacewalk
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei captured this selfie with his helmet visor up during a spacewalk

And the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, which represents companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin, said defunding the station before 2028 "would not allow sufficient time" for a private sector transition.

A complete transfer to the commercial sector is a different matter, however.

But finding companies to run USA operations cost-effectively by 2025 would be a heavy lift. But he's said he not convinced the industry could bear the financial burden of maintaining the space station by the mid-2020s.

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US aerospace and defense company Boeing (BA) operates the ISS for NASA, being selected as the prime contractor for the Space Station in 1993 and a cost-plus-award-fee contract with NASA that began in 1995. "We were very pleased, we thought the administration showed confidence in the USA that we can accomplish something not just for NASA but for the nation". NASA sends probes out into space.

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

. NASA pays for launch costs and astronauts' time to run the experiments.

Donald Trump and many of his climate-conservative supporters find that the USA space agency spends too much money and energy to observe and study our planet, and especially its climate, instead of doing something to explore the space. Drug companies like Merck and Eli Lilly have used the space station to research medications.

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The budget request "reflects the administration's confidence that America will lead the way back to the moon and take the next giant leap from where we made that first small step for humanity almost 50 years ago", NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said today in a "State of NASA" address at the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

The engineers and scientists associated with WFIRST have to now wait for Congress to deal with its own budget proposals for the 2019 fiscal year in the next few months and hope that lawmakers have a better deal lined up for the future of the mission than the president has. President Barack Obama extended that model to hire Boeing and SpaceX to fly astronauts there.

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.

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Trump Proposes Privatizing US Operations On Space Station