By George G Lombardi
In an internal NASA document obtained by the Washington Post stated the Trump administration has the desire of turning the International Space Station over to the private sector when its direct federal financial support comes to an end in 2025. With President Trump understanding the limits of the government in such ventures, that is undoubtedly the reason for wanting to open it for private investment.
“The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform 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,” the document states. “NASA 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.”
With the understanding of the need for a smooth transition, the administration is requesting $150 million in 2019 with more coming over the following years. This would be done to allow the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities to ensure the commercial successors are operational when they are needed.
It goes to say the plan will undoubtedly face its fair share of opposition from those who feel privatizing the ISS will throw away the billions of dollars already put into the program. Frank Slazer, the Aerospace Industries Association Vice President of Space Systems, has rejected the idea of the ISS being a commercially run venture. He argues the plan will most assuredly run into problems with the program’s international ties.
“It will be very hard to turn ISS into a truly commercial outpost because of the international agreements that the United States is involved in,” Slazer told the Washington Post. “It’s inherently always going to be an international construct that requires U.S. government involvement and multinational cooperation.”
When President Trump entered the White House, he had a daunting task ahead of him from revamping immigration and trade, repealing and replacing ObamaCare, and rebuilding the military. Many would ask if restoring America’s space exploration program to its former glory is worth his attention and the money needed. If one would ask such a question, they must not be paying attention.
President Trump understands there are things we must do to expand and learn as a nation, and how it will take vast amounts of money. However, he is not one to sit idly by and not take on a challenge. When Trump does something he always goes BIG. He did that with his business, so why wouldn’t he do it for the USA and all of mankind?