WH Considers Space Station Privatization

WH Considers Space Station Privatization

The Trump administration wants the International Space Station (ISS) to be run by the private industry, according to a report in The Washington Post.

However, the Washington Post also reported that the White House apparently doesn't have anyone specific in mind to take over the space station, which costs $US3 -4 billion a year to run and has already run the federal government almost $US100 billion in construction, maintenance, and operational costs.

The internal Nasa document suggests that although direct federal money could end, the White House is not planning to abandon the orbiting laboratory altogether but will essentially privatise the effort.

The NASA document says that ending federal support of the ISS doesn't mean it will necessarily come down, as "it is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements of capabilities of the ISS of a future commercial platform".

"NASA will expand global and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit", the document says.

"It will be very hard to turn ISS into a truly commercial outpost because of the worldwide agreements that the United States is involved in".

The ISS, which has been in orbit since 1998, is operated by Boeing and costs NASA $3 to $4 billion annually. The ISS has no clear commercial use, those other governments would be sure to balk at the idea of turning the station over to the private sector, and even Republicans like Ted Cruz are calling full privatization an extremely stupid idea since the ISS could potentially stay in use until 2028 or beyond. The International Space System is, after all, international, and it's unlikely that America's partners in low orbit would be so enthusiastic about the USA bringing about the deconstruction of the intergalactic state.

MOSCOW-Russian space agency Roscosmos has delayed the launch of a Soyuz rocket carrying a Progress cargo ship by two days after Sunday's planned lift-off was aborted at the last minute. Boeing, for their part, was opposed to selling off the station, with Mark Mulqueen (Boeing's space station program manager) claiming that the United States would be throwing away a leadership position in the scientific community.

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