Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Trump wants to withdraw funding for International Space Station

Nasa could pull out of ISS after Trump administration hints at dropping funding by 2025 President Trump Plans to End ISS Funding by 2025
Derrick Tucker | 28 January, 2018, 00:37

The worldwide space station sets the record (3,641 days) for the longest continuous human occupation of space. Ending the station's funding in 2025 would end those partnerships. The latter option requires freeing up funding, some of which could come from a United States withdrawal from the ISS.

That potential impact on the industry, he said, "is one of the reasons why Congress has directed NASA to look at extending the ISS to 2028 and to provide a plan to help scientists and researchers continue experimenting in low Earth orbit beyond that".

Canceling funding for the ISS would be devastating for NASA's worldwide relationships, the space program and many scientists who rely on the orbiting laboratory to conduct experiments and testing in low gravity.

The White House isn't planning on releasing its budget until February 12, so exact details are sketchy, and the National Space Council declined to comment.

A recent draft of the Trump administration's budget proposal calls for the ISS to be defunded to the point where it can not continue, and though the proposal might still change before the official budget request is released on February 12, multiple insiders say that this is the final draft.

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.

The goal of the bill was to free up the $3-4bn a year Nasa spends on ISS - a total of $87bn U.S. investment - to develop Nasa's own spacecraft and research capabilities.

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The Nasa Transition Authorization Act that President Trump signed in 2017 has reportedly asked the space agency to find a way to move away from majority Nasa funding for the ISS missions.

Two other companies, Axiom, and Nanoracks, are planning commercial space stations. Companies like SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Sierra Nevada Corp are paid billions to fly cargo and supplies there.

But for all the talk about pulling support from the space station, the White House is on the record with its support of maintaining a human presence in low Earth orbit, the neighborhood in space that the station inhabits.

To compensate for the lack of space shuttles, the plan was to get private companies involved.

The bottom line is that NASA does not have the funding to pay for the enormous Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the Orion crew spacecraft, the Deep Space Gateway (DSG), and continue funding the ISS.

"It's one thing to say this is the last space station that will be owned and operated by the federal government", Manber said.

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