President Trump’s administration is actively considering a plan to privatize the International Space Station (ISS) after its federal funding ends in 2024. In other words, the American section of the ISS will be sold to one of the very few large entities that could afford it.
“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,” an internal NASA document obtained by WaPo said.
The ISS is the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit and is divided into two sections, the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) and the United States Orbital Segment (USOS), which is shared by many nations.
The Russians are currently funding their segment until 2024. After their funding ends, they plan on using their ISS Orbital Segment to construct a new Russian space station called OPSEK.
The Verge reported last month that Trump was planning to request an end to funding for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025. It seems obvious now that the Trump administration is timing the end of funding of the ISS to when the Russians plan on building their new station.
It is entirely possible that by 2024, the Russians could be purchasing the United States’ part of the International Space Station all thanks to Trump, in the unlikely event that he is reelected.
The Russians already want to use their current section to create their new station in 2024, so they could obviously make use of the U.S. section, if the Trump administration succeeds in selling it to them.
“NASA and the International Space Station partnership is committed to full scientific and technical research on the orbiting laboratory, as it is the foundation on which we will extend human presence deeper into space,” a NASA spokesman said in a statement, “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.”