Trump to Defund International State Station
Earlier this week after reviewing a draft budget proposal, The Verge reported that the Trump Administration is looking to withdraw its support for the International Space Station by 2025.
Back in 2014, while former President Barack Obama was in office, NASA, the independent agency responsible for the United States’s space program, pledged to remain in the international effort through 2024. The United States is part of a collaborative team, working alongside Russia, Canada, Japan, and 22 European countries to build and maintain space programs.
For NASA to play an active role in the International Space Station, it comes at a high price. Yearly, the agency spends $3-4 billion on the ISP. Its funding is used to help facilitate the daily operation the habitable spacecraft, which duties include conducting live scientific experiments and monitoring activity on Earth.
The draft budget outlines the administration’s belief that the ISS is simply too expensive to maintain. Rather, they plan to allocate funds for other space-related activities, such as having astronauts return to the moon so they can further progress into Mars.
The Trump Administration’s decision has generated criticism in Congress, where their draft budget proposal must be reviewed and voted on. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fl), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation said, “If the administration plans to abruptly pull out of the ISS by 2025, they’re going to have a fight on their hands.”
Abandoning the ISS has its consequences too. Nelson added, “Such a move would decimate Florida’s blossoming commercial space industry. NASA currently holds partnerships with private companies, like Orbital ATK and Boeing, for its space exploration programs. Leaving the ISS program would sever relations between the federal government and private space industry companies, ultimately leaving funding for future endeavors in jeopardy.