WASHINGTON — NASA’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal will include plans to end funding for the International Space Station in 2025, but leaves open the possibility of handing part or all of the station over to private operators.
The budget proposal, due to be released Feb. 12, will include a request for $150 million to support the development of commercial capabilities in low-Earth orbit to succeed the ISS, for which NASA could be a customer, according to an internal agency document obtained by SpaceNews.
Approach - Administration - NASA - Funding - ISS
The approach the administration has chosen is one that would end NASA funding of the ISS in 2025, while offering support for the development of commercial successors. “In support of enabling a timely development and transition of commercial capabilities in LEO where NASA could be one of many customers in the mid-2020s, the Administration is proposing to end direct Federal support for the ISS in 2025 under the current NASA-directed operating model," the document states.
The 2019 budget proposal will offer $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." The document says "increasing investments" above that $150 million will be included in future years' budget requests.
End - Funding - ISS - End - Station
The end of federal funding for the ISS would not necessarily mean the end of the station, or at least some parts of it, according to the document. "[I]t is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform," it states.
The goal of that effort would be to have commercial facilities in operation by the time NASA funding for the ISS ends in 2025, with NASA potentially being a customer of those facilities to...
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