NASA May Turn Space Station Over to Private Sector

Document suggests some kind of commercial venture in 2025
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2018 1:03 PM CST
Space Station's Next Phase: a Commercial Venture?

The space industry is buzzing with rumors that the White House plans to phase out funding for the International Space Station. Now the Washington Post and SpaceNews have gotten a look at a NASA document that fills in some of the details: The US would fund the ISS through 2024, though that wouldn't necessarily result in the station going dark the following year. Instead, the White House thinks the ISS could then be taken over by the private sector. The Post interprets this as the station turning "into a kind of orbiting real estate venture," though the details in the NASA document are skimpy.

“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,” per the document. “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.” More details may be out Monday, when NASA's budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 will be revealed. (Maybe ISS could become a parking garage?)

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