Trump plans to privatise International Space Station

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The report says a NASA document indicates the White House plans to withdraw funding for the ISS after 2024 and turn the station over to the private sector. 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. As the Guardian noted, since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 NASA has no means to get astronauts into space and now relies on Russian Soyuz rockets to get them to the ISS; private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin won't launch manned missions to low Earth orbit until this September at the earliest.

That's according to The Washington Post, which says it's obtained a NASA document that outlines plans for privatization when the USA government stops funding the station in 2025.

As the Post notes, the station is no stranger to private industry; Boeing now operates it at a cost of $3 to $4 billion a year.

The report came ahead of the White House's budget proposal for next fiscal year, expected to be released Monday, which the Post said includes a funding request aimed at ensuring that "commercial successors to the ISS" are operational.

The US has reportedly spent almost $US100 billion ($A140 billion) to build and operate the ISS.

Last week, Senator Ted Cruz slammed the reports, claiming he hoped they would "prove as unfounded as Bigfoot" after the amount of money spent to operate the station.

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Privatizing the ISS a wasteful idea.

Now, the Trump administration wants to push that public-private partnership even further to encourage "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 enterprise, while providing a smooth and uninterrupted transition", the document said.

"It will be very hard to turn ISS into a truly commercial outpost because of the global agreements that the United States is involved in", Aerospace Industries Association vice president of space systems Frank Slazer told the Post.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, said the launch was halted after an automated command, but said the reason for the command was under investigation.

To be sure, the private sector getting involved in the ISS isn't exclusive to Trump. NASA now spends about $3-4 billion per years to run it, and the government has spent around $100 billion on it total since the ISS was first launched into low-Earth orbit in 1998.

It didn't immediately propose what private enterprise might do with the station or what companies might take it over.

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