International Space Station could be privatised under Trump administration plans

The plan to privatize the station - the largest single human structure even put in space - is expected to draw out-of-this-world criticism because the United States has spent almost $100 billion to build and operate it, the Washington Post said.

The White House's budget request for the fiscal year ending in September 2019 - which is set to be released Monday - will ask for $150 million "to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial successors to the ISS-potentially including elements of the ISS-are operational when they are needed". "NASA will expand global and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit".

The United States spent almost $US100 billion to build and operate it the ISS and any sell off would likely face strong opposition.

Last week, Senator Ted Cruz slammed the reports, claiming he hoped they would "prove as unfounded as Bigfoot" after the amount of money spent to operate the station. He also argued that it would be "one of the dumbest things" to stop funding an asset with "serious usable life ahead".

"I think all of us are open to reasonable proposals that are cost effective and that are utilizing the investments we made in a way that maximize their effectiveness".

NASA isn't new to studying omics, and according to the results of previous omics research, the immune systems of astronauts are weaker after living on the ISS, though scientists aren't sure of the reason yet.

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"It will be very hard to turn ISS into a truly commercial outpost because of the worldwide agreements that the United States is involved in", Aerospace Industries Association vice president of space systems Frank Slazer told the Post.

In a statement, Boeing's Space Station manager Mark Mulqueen said that "handing over a rare national asset to commercial enterprises before the private sector is ready to support it could have disastrous consequences for American leadership in space and for the chances of building space-focused private enterprise".

The internal NASA document included few details of exactly how the privatisation of the station would work.

After a transition period, the government would end direct support after 2024, the newspaper said, citing NASA documents.

Supporters fear the rumours and leaks risk deterring other nations from continuing their support for a collaborative effort that launched in 1998 and has welcomed astronauts, cosmonauts and space tourists from 17 countries.

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