The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump plans to turn the International Space Station (ISS) into a private enterprise, local media reported, citing an internal document of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
In late January, U.S. media reported, citing a draft budget proposal, that the Trump administration may stop funding the ISS programme by 2025.
“The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be de-orbited 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 internal NASA document said, as quoted in a Washington Post article released on Sunday.
According to the newspaper, the White House is creating a transition plan for moving the ISS to the private sector and will request 150 million dollars for the 2019 fiscal year to support the commercial entities that would manage the space station in the future.
The proposal is likely to face public disapproval, as it had taken the U.S. nearly 100 billion dollars to construct and operate the ISS, the newspaper added.
According to NASA figures, the ISS operational costs will amount to 3-4 billion dollars per year through 2024.