Trump administration proposes to end support for the International Space Station
25 Jan 2018
The Trump administration has proposed to end support for the International Space Station (ISS) programme by 2025, in a draft budget proposal The Verge reviewed. Without the ISS, US astronauts could be grounded on earth for years with no destination in space until NASA develops new vehicles for its deep space travel plans.
According to commentators, the draft may change before an official budget request is released on 12 February. However, The Verge cited two people familiar with the matter as having confirmed that the directive will be in the final proposal.
Commentators point out that any budget proposal from the Trump administration would be subject to scrutiny and approval by Congress, but even the announcement of the intention to cancel ISS funding could send a signal to NASA's international partners that the US is no longer interested in continuing the programme. Many of NASA's partners have to yet decide whether they would like to continue working on the station beyond 2024.
The ISS has been an ongoing programme for over two decades, and costs NASA between $3 to $4 billion each year, and represents a more than $87 billion investment from the US government. The ISS has become a major hub for conducting both government and commercial experiments in microgravity, and also testing out the human body's response to weightlessness.