Trump proposes to privatize International Space Station in 2025

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Russian Federation already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: "We have a Napoleon in the making" MORE's newly released 2019 budget proposal seeks to end USA government funding for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025.

The budget proposal, due to be released February 12, will include a request for $150 million to support the development of commercial capabilities in low Earth orbit to succeed the ISS, for which NASA could be a customer, according to an internal agency document obtained by SpaceNews. The government would set aside $150 million to encourage commercial development.

His plans for ISS and the Nasa space programme were unveiled in his 2019 budget proposal.

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, a former astronaut, said the proposed plan to stop funding the International Space Station "makes no sense". This hugely expensive program - which unlike SpaceX rockets, has no reusable parts - would receive $3.7 billion, close to 20 percent of NASA's entire budget.

Overall, NASA would receive a slight top-line funding increase next year, from $19.5 billion to $19.9 billion.

"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. SpaceX and Orbital ATK have been making deliveries since 2012, and Sierra Nevada Corp. will begin making shipments with its crew-less mini shuttles in a few years. Even if it weren't, it's not clear how a privatized space station could operate.

And for the second straight year, the Trump administration proposes killing five missions that study Earth, especially its climate and the effects of carbon dioxide.

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U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who leads the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, also recently referred to supporters of exiting the ISS program as "numbskulls".

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

CASIS said Monday it doesn't know what a commercially run space station would look like, but "looks forward to working with both the Administration and Congress on the future of the International Space Station".

And SpaceX and Boeing are each developing spacecrafts to send astronauts to and from the space station.

The station has allowed global crews - notably in collaboration with the Canadian, European and Japanese space agencies - to pursue scientific research in the environment of a low Earth orbit. No man has returned to the moon since December 11th, 1972, during the Apollo 17 mission.

The WFIRST was in line after the James Webb Space Telescope, which is going to be launched in 2019, as the next big thing in astronomy mission. "NASA is called to refocus existing activities towards exploration, by redirecting funding to innovative new programmes and support for new public-private initiatives", acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement. The budget for the mission was already being trimmed down after it was found to be getting too costly.

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