US wants to privatize International Space Station

US wants to privatize International Space Station

Editor: Johnathan Meyers | Tactical Investor

White House Plans to End Direct Federal Support for International Space Station

The White House plans to stop funding the International Space Station (ISS) after 2024, according to an internal NASA document obtained by The Washington Post. However, it does not intend to abandon the orbiting laboratory altogether and is working on a transition plan that could turn the station over to the private sector.

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 plan has drawn concerns from experts, including the vice president of space systems for the Aerospace Industries Association, who argues that the ISS will always require US government involvement and multinational cooperation due to international agreements. The debate over the future of space exploration and the role of government in funding it continues. Read more

 NASA Inspector General Raises Concerns Over Transition of International Space Station to Private Sector

Text: NASA’s Inspector General, Paul Martin, has expressed concerns over the transition of the International Space Station (ISS) to the private sector, citing a lack of “sufficient business case” for space companies to take on the yearly operations costs of the ISS. The industries requiring the ISS, such as space tourism and research and development, haven’t been profitable enough to justify the cost. The private space industry hasn’t shown much interest in using the ISS. Martin also noted that transitioning the ISS to the private sector wouldn’t save NASA as much money as previously thought, as transportation costs for sending astronauts and cargo would still be expensive.

The alternative to transitioning the ISS to the private sector is for NASA to de-orbit the space station by slowly dismantling it and plunging its hardware safely into Earth’s atmosphere. However, this process would take three years and cost an estimated $950 million. Martin’s concerns highlight the ongoing debate over the future of space exploration and the role of the government in funding it.Read more

Lawmakers Reject Trump Administration’s Plan to Privatize International Space Station

In February, the Trump administration announced its intention to redirect the money it spends on the International Space Station (ISS) towards other space exploration projects, such as returning to the Moon and eventually sending people to Mars. However, the plan was met with opposition from experts and lawmakers controlling the US budget.

Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, stated during a hearing on Thursday, “We cannot have it all. Federal funding is not unlimited.” Researchers, including Bhavya Lal at the Institute for Defense Analysis, argued that if the ISS were privatized, Americans would still pay for exploration missions and research, and the savings would be minimal.

Moreover, it is unlikely that a commercial space station will be economically viable by 2025, according to Lal. The estimated savings of around $1 billion per year from the privatization of the ISS would not be enough to fund a human exploration mission to Mars.

The potential loss of the ISS has united both Republicans and Democrats. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, argued that abandoning the research being conducted on the ISS would be irresponsible and disastrous. He stated, “We’ve got this platform up there (worth) north of $100 billion, and it’s there. Abandoning this incredible orbiting laboratory where they are doing research when we are on the cusp of a new era of space exploration would be irresponsible at best and probably disastrous.”

In the face of the backlash, the Trump administration has since backed away from its plan to privatize the ISS, but the issue has reignited the debate about the future of space exploration and the role of the government in funding it.  Read more

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