clear
Wednesday December 19th, 2018 12:57AM

Trump wants NASA out of space station by 2025, businesses in

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The Trump administration wants NASA out of the International Space Station by 2025, and private businesses running the place instead.

Under President Donald Trump's 2019 proposed budget released Monday, U.S. government funding for the space station would end by 2025. The government would set aside $150 million to encourage commercial development.

Many space experts are expressing concern. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who rocketed into orbit in 1986, said "turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space" makes no sense.

Retired NASA historian and Smithsonian curator Roger Launius notes that any such move will affect all the other countries involved in the space station; Russia is a major player, as is Europe, Japan and Canada. "I suspect this will be a major aspect of any decisions about ISS's (space station's) future," Launius wrote in an email.

NASA has spent close to $100 billion on the orbiting outpost since the 1990s. The first piece was launched in 1998, and the complex was essentially completed with the retirement of NASA's space shuttles in 2011.

Private businesses already have a hand in the project. The end of the shuttle program prompted NASA to turn over supply runs to the commercial sector. SpaceX and Orbital ATK have been making deliveries since 2012, and Sierra Nevada Corp. will begin making shipments with its crew-less mini shuttles in a few years.

SpaceX and Boeing, meanwhile, are developing crew capsules to fly astronauts to and from the space station within the next year. These commercial flights will represent the first astronaut launches from U.S. soil since NASA's shuttles stopped flying.

A complete transfer to the commercial sector is a different matter, however. Mike Suffredini, a former space station program manager for NASA who now runs Axiom Space in Houston and aims to establish the world's first commercial space station cautioned that the U.S. government needs to have a direct hand in the International Space Station until it comes down. No company would accept the liabilities and risks associated with the station, he said, if the sprawling complex went out of control and came crashing down.

His company's plan is to attach its own compartments to the existing International Space Station and, once the decision is made to dismantle the complex, detach its segment and continue orbiting on its own.

"For us, 2025 is the beginning of a conversation," Suffredini said. He said he is happy that the administration is forcing a discussion now about how and when to retire the space station.

Altogether, the administration's proposed budget , along with an addendum , seeks to increase NASA's budget slightly to $19.9 billion.

About $10 billion is targeted for human space exploration and to "pursue a campaign that would establish U.S. preeminence to, and around, and on the moon," according to the proposal.

While the budget plan said it places renewed support on returning humans to the moon, followed by human expeditions to Mars and elsewhere, no precise timeline and few details are provided. The supersize Space Launch System rocket being built by NASA to send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit — along with its Orion crew capsule — would get $3.7 billion under this budget. A test launch of this system would remain on track for 2020, with a first crewed launch around the moon three years later, according to budget details.

"We are once again on a path to return to the Moon with an eye toward Mars," said NASA's acting administrator Robert Lightfoot in a statement.

In an agency-wide address he said it was a "very exciting" budget with lots of potential, despite some hard decisions. Among them: the proposed cancellation of a telescope under development called WFIRST that would try to solve cosmic mysteries such as the nature of dark energy, as well as to look for planets like our own around distant stars.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Business
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump's $4.4 trillion budget moves deficit sharply higher
President Donald Trump unveils a $4.4 trillion budget for next year that heralds an era an $1 trillion-plus federal deficits
1:08PM ( 2 minutes ago )
UN refugee chief urges US, others to take in more refugees
U.N. refugee agency chief appeals to the United States and other nations to reverse course and take in more displaced people, including Syrians
12:57PM ( 13 minutes ago )
APNewsBreak: Long-stalled Vegas casino-resort gets new life
A Las Vegas property that's sat unfinished for nine years is shrugging off its identity as a poster child of the Great Recession with plans for it to become a casino-resort called The Drew
12:52PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Burnished in history: How an AP photo showed the cost of war
Two Americans whose faces were burnished into history in one of the most iconic photographs of the Vietnam War have spoken with media about their experiences for the first time
12:29PM ( 41 minutes ago )
National Portrait Gallery unveils Obama portraits
The National Portrait Gallery has unveiled portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, both painted by African-American artists who were personally chosen by the Obamas
11:52AM ( 1 hour ago )
Low police complaints mask discontent with Dallas department
Low number of citizen complaints masks discontent with Dallas Police Department
11:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Budget hikes missile defense, amid NKorea threat
President Donald Trump's budget for 2019 shows the administration's concern about the threat from North Korea and its missile program
12:26PM ( 43 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump plan might sell assets, including airports
President Donald Trump's infrastructure plan calls for possibly selling two of the three major airports serving the nation's capital
12:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump's plan to rebuild US roads relies on local dollars
President Donald Trump on Monday will unveil his long-awaited infrastructure plan, a $1.5 trillion proposal that fulfills a number of campaign goals but relies heavily on state and local governments to produce much of the funding
10:52AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Sale of Harvey Weinstein's company up in air after lawsuit
A proposed sale of the Weinstein Company is in question after New York's attorney general filed a lawsuit saying that any deal would have to include assurances of financial compensation for women abused by the studio's co-founder, Harvey Weinstein
12:37PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Beleaguered gun maker Remington points to bankruptcy court
Remington reaches financing deal that'll allow it continue operating as it seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
11:40AM ( 1 hour ago )
Stocks make more gains following worst week in 2 years
Stocks are solidly higher on Wall Street as the market comes off its worst week in two years, with energy and technology companies both recovering some of their recent losses
11:36AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Trump's $4.4 trillion budget moves deficit sharply higher
President Donald Trump unveils a $4.4 trillion budget for next year that heralds an era an $1 trillion-plus federal deficits
1:08PM ( 2 minutes ago )
UN refugee chief urges US, others to take in more refugees
U.N. refugee agency chief appeals to the United States and other nations to reverse course and take in more displaced people, including Syrians
12:57PM ( 13 minutes ago )
APNewsBreak: Long-stalled Vegas casino-resort gets new life
A Las Vegas property that's sat unfinished for nine years is shrugging off its identity as a poster child of the Great Recession with plans for it to become a casino-resort called The Drew
12:52PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Turkey to rename US Embassy street after Syria offensive
Ankara's mayor has announced plans to rename a street where the U.S. Embassy is located after the Turkish military offensive in Syria that deepened tensions between the United States and Turkey
12:49PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Trump threatens 'tax' on countries that exploit US trade
President Donald Trump says he's planning to announce a "reciprocal tax" on countries that take advantage of the United States on trade, with more details to be released later this week.
12:48PM ( 21 minutes ago )