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Trump administration plans to privatise ISS

IANS  |  Washington 

The administration is working on a transition plan that could turn the (ISS) over to the private sector after federal funding for the orbiting laboratory ends in 2025, has reported, citing an internal document.

As per the document, end of direct federal support should not imply that the orbiting laboratory, which is currently contracted to and costs more than $3 billion every year, itself will be "deorbited" at that time.

"It is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform," according to the document cited by the Post on Sunday.

"will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit," it added.

While the transition could help NASA focus its resources on exploring deep space, such a plan could invite objections from many quarters -- both domestic and international.

"As a fiscal conservative, you know one of the dumbest things you can to is cancel programmes after billions in investment when there is still serious usable life ahead," was quoted as saying by the Post.

What the NASA document does no state is what private companies might do with the and which enterprises could show interest to run it.

Moreover, an international partnership of space agencies provides and operates the elements of the ISS, and therefore, the Trump administration's plant to turn it into a commercially-run venture might face objections from other space agency partners.

"It will be very hard to turn ISS into a truly commercial outpost because of the international agreements that the is involved in," Frank Slazer, of for the Aerospace Industries Association, was quoted as saying.

Last month, Boeing's programme manager warned that "walking away from the now would be a mistake, threatening American leadership and hurting the commercial market as well as the scientific community".

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 12 2018. 14:00 IST
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