Science

Plan to cut off Funding for the International Space Station

Plan to cut off Funding for the International Space Station”

NASA spends about $4 billion annually to support the International Space Station and its astronauts living there, and the agency spent almost $100 billion over more than a decade to construct the station. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a January 25 statement.

The report mentions that the ISS' end of operational lifetime is set to happen in 2028, and commercial space companies and researchers would like Nasa to continue funding it till then.

The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center at Redstone Arsenal designs and assembles equipment for the International Space Station.

NASA, in turn, has said they won't comment on the budget request until it is released.

Currently, the United States is committed to providing $3 to $4 billion toward the ISS until the year 2024.

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The Nasa Transition Authorization Act that President Trump signed in 2017 has reportedly asked the space agency to find a way to move away from majority Nasa funding for the ISS missions.

For now, the future of ISS looks very uncertain beyond 2024. However, the simple fact that it contains details that include ending support for the ISS in 2025 suggests that there is a sentiment of that nature in the White House.

The White House has said repeatedly that it intends to recommit the nation to space exploration, in partnership with the private sector and the worldwide community.

In 2014, NASA pledged to keep the ISS open, thanks to the Obama Administration extending funding through 2014. But according to The Verge, "canceling the ISS too early without a viable replacement could lead to a gap of human activities in lower Earth orbit".

"At Axiom Space, we're building the first commercial space station", said Amir Blachman, vice president of strategic development for Axiom Space, during a panel discussion at the Space Tech Summit in San Mateo, California, Jan. 24.

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To compensate for the lack of space shuttles, the plan was to get private companies involved.

"It's one thing to say this is the last space station that will be owned and operated by the federal government", Manber said.

Although the work on the ISS has made a great contribution to humanity's understanding of space, it is a massive drain on NASA's (static) budget.

The bottom line is that NASA does not have the funding to pay for the enormous Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the Orion crew spacecraft, the Deep Space Gateway (DSG), and continue funding the ISS. "What also is a fact is the ISS is still the only game in town that we have at the moment".

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