President Trump Wants To Turn Space Station Into Commercial Real Estate

To ensure a smooth transition US would ask the private sector to provide market analyses and development plans the Washington Post reports

The plan to privatise the station is likely to run into a wall of opposition, especially since the United States has spent almost US$100 billion to build and operate it.

This is exactly what happened after the U.S. retired the space shuttle fleet.

What does Trump want to do?

In January, The Verge reported that the Trump administration was preparing to end United States support for the International Space Station by 2025, prompting outcry from Congressional officials. 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 ISS is not exclusively a Nasa project - Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada are all involved, as are several private companies.

Thanks to the ISS, we've come to learn, for instance, that microgravity causes significant changes in the human body and biology.

Quite simply, because the U.S. and Russian Federation want to spend money and focus their interests on the Moon and Mars instead.

The resupply mission will be the first of six, as the company won the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) 2 contract in 2016 to transport cargo to and from the ISS.

The ISS is an global co-operative program between the US, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan. Yes, Bigelow Space is indeed working to attach an inflatable habitat to the ISS to act as a space hotel, but privatizing the station is a different matter entirely. "What we're trying to do in space right now is extremely hard and nuanced". Several key members of Congress, representing both houses and both parties, have expressed opposition to the idea of ending station operations in 2025. What Trump is hoping is that after 2024 the space station will become a privately run endeavor. The plan to privatize the station, meanwhile, will likely also be met with resistance, as the White House has already poured nearly $100 billion investments into it.

"George Bush really gave birth to the privatisation of space", Dr Tucker explained.

NASA's New Horizons snaps farthest images by any spacecraft
Each of those show a Kuiper Belt object: The one on the left is known as 2012 HZ84 , and on the right is 2012 HE85 . New Horizons took more photos as it sped deeper into the cosmos in December.

Mark Mulqueen, Boeing's space station programme manager, said: "Walking away from the International Space Station now would be a mistake, threatening American leadership and hurting the commercial market as well as the scientific community".

President Barack Obama continued the transition to hire Boeing and SpaceX to fly astronauts to the station. It's extremely unlikely that any of America's partners will view any kind of privatization of ISS modules in good faith.

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.

If all goes according to plan, the agency will launch a "power and propulsion space tug", a component of NASA's planned outpost in near-moon space, in 2022. What happens after that is the big debate, knowing that abandoning it would be a complete waste.

So what's in store for the future?

Russia, Canada, Japan, and the US together launched the International Space Station in November 1998, so the other countries may have a say in what happens to it.

Since 1993, The ISS was and is a collaborative effort by NASA and space agencies from Russia, Japan, the European Union, and Canada.

On the science side, the budget continues support for high-profile planetary missions, such as the life-hunting 2020 Mars rover and Europa Clipper, which will investigate the habitability of Jupiter's ocean-harboring moon Europa.

"It could actually be used as an education tool for groups all across Australia", Dr Tucker said.

"We can't wait to see the vehicle return to Kennedy Space Center to a runway landing, allowing immediate access to the science payloads being returned from the station", added Sirangelo.

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