The administration of Donald Trump has promoted big plans for NASA in recent months, but has not been willing to accumulate much cash. So, the White House has devised a way to further expand the space agency's budget: forward the invoices from the International Space Station to anyone else.
According to the budget documents seen by The Verge, at least a draft budget proposal from the White House proposes to terminate the financial support of the US. UU for the ISS by 2025, which could leave NASA astronauts landed here on our own planet until the agency finds a way to take them elsewhere. The sources told Verge that cutting the ISS is probably in the final version of the budget request that expires on February 12.
The United States is committed to providing funds of $ 3-4 billion to the ISS until the year 2024. But cutting the funds could cause other countries currently participating in the program to direct their own space programs elsewhere before end of the expected life cycle of the station in 2028, when the amount of thermal and mechanical stress it has endured during its lifetime probably makes it inoperative.
Trump signed an act last year that forced the agency to look for alternative ways to fund ISS operations, as well as another directing the agency to prepare to return to the Moon as a kind of test for Mars. The last option requires releasing funds, some of which could come from a US withdrawal. UU From the ISS.
However, as Verge pointed out, ending support too soon could lead to "a human activity gap in low Earth orbit," with fewer opportunities to train astronauts, test new systems, and conduct research on human survival long-term in space. Commercial space flight companies do not want to see the station lose funds too soon, because they could lose access to one of its main test sites.
Those more ambitious programs, such as a moon base or sending humans to Mars, would also require resources. much more extensive than would be released simply by discontinuing NASA's ISS funds, and it is unlikely to materialize in the form of government funds in the current political climate. The Trump administration has yet to really articulate a plan for NASA to return to the Moon or what will be achieved there, and changing existing funds can only do so much when it proposes to reduce the agency's overall budget.