Trump plans to privatise ISS

Russian rocket to reach International Space Station in record breaking time

GETTYRussian rocket to reach International Space Station in record breaking time

"We had to make some hard decisions as we always have too".

What does Trump want to do?

A story in the Washington Post said the White House plans to stop funding the station after 2024, ending direct federal support of the orbiting laboratory.

It had been reported that the Trump administration was ready to pull the plug on the space station. "We have invested massively in the ISS".

Can the USA sell off the ISS?

The ISS, which orbits some 400 kilometres above Earth, is now supported in a joint project by the U.S., Russian, Japanese and European space agencies.

NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Private businesses already have a hand in the space station project.

The commercial cargo and crew work continues through the life of the International Space Station in the budget.

"We will attempt that from the European side as well, " Woerner said. Perhaps more important to consider is the type of research being done aboard the ISS.

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"Ultimately if the United States says, "Hey, we're backing out, we're not paying for it" there's going to be very little way for other groups to stop them", Dr Tucker said. Congressional officials have slammed the reports, saying that the move would harm USA public and private interests in space.

Wilks said the plan also fits in with general trends in the space sector. No company would accept the liabilities and risks associated with the station, he said, if the sprawling complex went out of control and came crashing down.

Like the never-fading American bootprints still on the moon, President Donald Trump's imprint on the American space agency is unmistakable. And under President Barack Obama, it hired Boeing and SpaceX to fly astronauts there.

Is privatisation a good or a bad thing?

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also was harshly critical of the idea.

Even Boeing weighed in on the situation. As Time.com points out, "The microgravity aboard the station provides an environment not available on the planet, and the studies conducted there are largely pure science - done strictly to advance the state of knowledge".

"I won't pretend that we're exactly precise", Hunter told the media Monday when he was asked about how that money could be spent.

Pretty much every step of space privatization has been accompanied by this type of hysteria. What happens after that is the big debate, knowing that abandoning it would be a complete waste. While not quite on the same level, NASA has handed over its low Earth orbit operations over to private enterprises so it could focus on deep space operations.

Right now, all researchers who send experiments to the space station get a free ride and free labor.

More: NASA's new guardian of the galaxy? It may be primarily funded by the USA, but its survival as a station relies heavily upon multinational cooperation and knowledge sharing.

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