Trump's White House wants to privatise International Space Station by 2025

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"The International Space Station is a unique laboratory and proving ground for advances that enable future deep-space exploration and improve the lives of people on Earth", a Boeing spokesperson told FOX Business.

US President Donald Trump's administration wants private businesses to run the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025, but that's "unrealistic" according to the head of the European Space Agency (ESA). The budget would set aside only $150 million to encourage private development of the station, and devote the savings to Trump's goal of sending astronauts once again to the moon.

It was not clear if NASA envisions partners taking over some or all of the ISS, or if the football field-length research complex would be dropped from orbit and replaced by commercial stations.

The 2019 fiscal plan, which includes a 10-year spending blueprint, is not formal legislation, and final congressional budget measures rarely conform to presidential proposals.

Another company, Bigelow Aerospace, builds habitable space structures and also is involved with the Space Station, specifically with its Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) which is attached to the ISS. "Keeping these advances on track, both technologically and as groundwork for establishing a commercial marketplace in low Earth orbit, is critical". The ISS was pretty much finished in 2011 when Nasa's space shuttles were retired.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Space, said last week that it had to be "numbskulls" at the Office of Management and Budget who proposed ending federal funding for the space station, The New York Times reported.

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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.

The administration's plan, he said, may be "to find a way in those three years to have the private sector use enough of the station to see whether there's a justification for a post-station LEO (low-Earth orbit) platform that would be commercial".

"The total operation of the space station is simply too expensive", said Jan Wörner. Even so, if the station were to be turned over to private companies and maintained beyond 2024, Russia's space hotel could still stand a chance. Drug companies like Merck and Eli Lilly have used the space station to research medications. They will boost the lab's crew back to six, joining Expedition 55 commander Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and Japanese physician-astronaut Norishige Kanai.

The Trump administration recognizes the benefits of global cooperation in space, the document says, and is willing to expand collaboration with USA allies "while working with a broader range of partners at all levels of capability".

NASA's acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot, called the plan "very exciting" with lots of potential, despite what he said were some hard decisions that went into it.