It’s really not all that surprising that the white house, under President Trump, wished to pull the plug on NASA funding for the International Space Station. Lower Earth orbits are the domain of the ISS and they are naturally less splashy and head-line grabbing than visits to other planets. However, it’s those lower orbital flights that have proven to be a fertile testing ground for modalities, mechanics and technologies that can make it break those splashier ventures. Therefore, the ISS remains a critical element in ongoing space travel and research strategy. But it requires several billion dollars a year to stay active.
The answer may lie in commercial takeover of the enterprise. It’s less likely that one company could absorb the cost needed for the station’s upkeep and personnel. It may be that several small companies may haven to open individual space stations. The day may also be coming when these companies stay afloat by income accrued via space tourism and space !manufacturing.
- The current US Administration is considering different exit strategies for when the funding for the International Space Station ends.
- These could include privatization of the platform, allowing private companies to come in and use it.
- This is attractive to a number of companies eager to use the low-earth orbit environment for a number of specialized ventures.
“But to make this privatized dream of lower Earth orbit a reality, commercial companies need to be ready, which may not happen by 2025.”