President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal ends government funding for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025, with the future plan to shift government support to private ventures in space.
That plan could lead to the destruction of the space station’s scientific capabilities, while hurting U.S. leadership in space.
In the 2019 budget blueprint, the Trump administration plans to move NASA funding away from international efforts by allocating millions to pursue privatization of ISS and returning American astronauts to the moon.
The goal of the Trump administration regarding space exploration goal is “strengthening national security, expanding space exploration, promoting commercial space development, and renewing America’s leadership in the international community — rely on improved knowledge of what’s in orbit and developing more efficient ways to safely and sustainably manage the growing number of objects.”
So why end government funding of ISS when that action would not defund further intended goals for the U.S. in space? Plans to stop government funding to privatize the station are considered a conservative ideology — private companies funding and carrying out the work of the government as a means to cut budget cost.
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But, in the case of ISS, ending government funding of scientific research in space for a transition of a private partnership is a costly mistake. It’s not because of the significant cost of managing ISS or the lack of a private entity to take over ISS — it has to do with the structure’s contribution to international space relations.
The first ISS components were constructed and launched into orbit in 1998 and the ISS has become one of the largest man-made structures that humans have placed into space. Since its creation, ISS has become a major hub for conducting both government and commercial experiments in microgravity, as well as testing out how the human body responds to weightlessness.
Besides ISS tremendous scientific achievement, it has significantly advanced the understanding of how one can live and work in space. ISS is also considered a cornerstone of political and international diplomatic relations.
With 15 nations involved in a long-term “international co-operative framework on the basis of genuine partnership, for the detailed design, development, operation, and utilization of a permanently inhabited civil Space Station for peaceful purposes,” it has become a united power of science, as nations work together to further scientific research of space and earth.
A premature end of ISS …