Trump wants to privatize the International Space Station

Trump wants to privatize the International Space Station

NASA will continue to fund a "gateway" concept for a small outpost in orbit near the Moon in the mid-2020s, with landings somewhere, at some point in the distant future.

The budget request "reflects the administration's confidence that America will lead the way back to the moon and take the next giant leap from where we made that first small step for humanity almost 50 years ago", NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said today in a "State of NASA" address at the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

The 2019 budget estimate for NASA announced by the Donald Trump administration on Monday puts the agency on a path to lead the return of Americans to the Moon with a goal to send humans to Mars. "So the investment made in that and the development activities made in that, unless something happens relativity quickly in the commercial market to offset that in low-earth orbit could be an impact", Frank Slazer, vice president of space systems at the Aerospace Industries Association, told FOX Business, regarding the impact privatization could have on Boeing and SpaceX.

The FY 2019 budget provides a top-line number of $19.892 billion for NASA, an increase over the FY 2018 budget of $19.519 billion that is largely attributable to the recent budget agreement passed by Congress, which raises spending levels for defense and discretionary spending.

The administration also proposed to eliminate the entire Office of Education at NASA.

The budget to be proposed for NASA later today will offer some preliminary support for a lunar exploration program, but has no specific timelines for when humans might return to the surface of the Moon-nor funding to make such an ambitious undertaking happen. More money would be allocated to space exploration and planetary science. WFIRST was the top-priority large project in the most recent U.S. National Research Council Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics, which came out in 2010.

The budget also confirms the cancellation of five Earth-science missions proposed for termination past year.

That would be the same mission as the first launch of NASA astronauts on the 322-foot Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule from Kennedy Space Center. "NASA has got itself into a position like they had with the shuttle".

"The administration's budget for NASA is a nonstarter".

But finding companies to run USA operations cost-effectively by 2025 would be a heavy lift. Bill Nelson, ranking member on the committee that oversees NASA.

The Trump administration instead envisions "the emergence of an environment in [low Earth orbit] where NASA is one of many customers of a non-governmental human space flight managed and operated the enterprise while providing a smooth and uninterrupted transition".

The American leader stressed out that this time, the mission on the moon will not only follow the installation of the USA flag and to just leave traces on the lunar ground, but also to establish "the main base for a possible journey to Mars".

MIT astronautics professor Dava Newman, who was the deputy NASA chief under Barack Obama, called the space station "the cornerstone of space exploration today" but said the Trump administration's proposal makes sense because it is doing long-term planning.

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