Space Leaders Worry Over Possible Space Station Defunding

Alicia Guzman
January 28, 2018

"If the administration plans to abruptly pull us out of the International Space Station in 2025, they're going to have a fight on their hands", Nelson said in a statement.

Ending funding would be detrimental to NASA, which uses the station to test new technology and train astronauts. That means by 2024 the U.S. will have spent around $115 billion. Not only would a 2028 dateline be sensible, but it would give NASA and all other parties involved time to transition activities to an Earth-bound facility or even allow time for commercial space companies to establish a commercial station in low-Earth orbit. Since 1993 the United States has spent over $87 billion to build and operate it, with ongoing costs until 2024 estimated at between $3 and $4 billion per year.

President Donald Trump won't release the official budget request until February 12, but The Verge's Loren Grush reported Wednesday that the final proposal includes a directive to end funding for the 2-decade-old NASA program.

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Under President Obama's administration, Congress approved funding for the space station until 2024.

At present, NASA spends around $4 billion annually to support the ISS and the astronauts being housed there. NASA's primary partner on the ISS is Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, and astronauts from Europe, Canada, and Japan also live and work on the ISS. The commercial sector has encouraged NASA to extend operations to 2028, after which the ISS could be taken over by private companies.

As the ISS de-orbits, the world will be in need a of a new space station; Axiom is taking on this challenge, creating the first global commercial space station to host government astronauts, private companies, and individual explorers alike. NASA is working with worldwide partners to develop a Deep Space Gateway, a space station that would orbit near the moon to help prepare for deep space missions.

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Several companies, including Axiom Space, Bigelow Aerospace and NanoRacks have proposed developing commercial stations, in some cases starting with commercial modules on the ISS.

"It's one thing to say this is the last space station that will be owned and operated by the federal government", Manber said.

Now that the news is out that this is the case, worldwide partners of the USA that are also invested in the ISS might lose whatever confidence they have left that it is a reliable partner.

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In the same appearance, he also touched upon the future of the ISS.

Other reports by Info About Network

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