You are here: Home » International » News » Others
Business Standard

US wants International Space Station to go private, end Fed support: Report

The station has allowed international crews -- notably in collaboration with the Canadian, European and Japanese space agencies -- to pursue scientific research in the environment of a low Earth orbit

AFP | PTI  |  Washington 

space, satellite
Photo: Shutterstock

Could the Space Station become a commercial venture run by private industry? That is the wish of the White House, which hopes to end funding for the costly programme within a few years, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. The US plan, the paper said, involves privatising the ISS, a low-orbit space station piloted by the US space agency NASA and developed jointly with its Russian counterpart. The station has allowed crews -- notably in collaboration with the Canadian, European and Japanese space agencies -- to pursue scientific research in the environment of a "The decision to end direct federal support for the in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time," says an internal NASA document obtained by the Post. "It is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the as part of a future commercial platform." "NASA will expand and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit," the document says. A budget request to be issued on Monday by the will call for $150 million to be spent on the in the 2019 fiscal year, and more in succeeding years, "to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial successors to the .. are operational when they are needed." To ensure a smooth transition, the would ask the private sector to provide market analyses and development plans, the Post reported. The plan is expected to face stiff opposition.

The has already spent some $100 billion to launch, operate and support the orbital station. Beginning during the presidency of (2001- 2009), NASA has subcontracted certain support operations, starting with the supply flights now carried out by the and Orbital ATK companies -- a trend that gained speed during the Obama presidency. It was not clear, however, how private companies might profit from taking over the aging station -- its first section was launched in 1998. NASA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

First Published: Mon, February 12 2018. 07:44 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU