The administration of President Donald Trump plans to transfer control over the International Space Station to private companies. It is expected that in the near future NASA will expand its commercial partnerships to prepare for the transfer of the station. This is reported by The Washington Post, which got acquainted with the internal documents of the space agency.
The publication notes that the White House will request an analysis of the market and business plans of private space companies. Thanks to privatization NASA will be able to reorient to study deeper space instead of wasting resources on a station located in near-earth orbit.
However, the plan of the White House may face serious resistance from the conservatives. They oppose transferring the ISS into the hands of business after spending billions of dollars from the budget.
NASA should publicize its budget on Monday, February 12. It is assumed that the document will specify the end of the financing of the station in 2024. US Senator Bill Nelson has already said that it will damage the private and public interests of America in space.
Probably, we are talking about the American part of the station, which the US finances directly from the budget through NASA. For the entire time of the ISS, America has invested more than $ 100 billion in its development and maintenance. Now they want to shift the costs to commercial companies. For comparison, Roskosmos invests not more than $ 1.5 billion a year in the ISS.
Debates about the future of the ISS have been in the US for several years. In 2014, the Obama administration approved a plan to support the station until 2024, but the future of the station at the end of this period remains unknown. Privatization also was one of the options for the future station at the hearing in the White House in 2017.