Trump administration wants to pull funding for the International Space Station

The latter option requires freeing up funding, some of which could come from a U.S. withdrawal from the ISS. Still, many in the industry would prefer that NASA fund the ISS through 2028 to provide more time for the shift to commercial ventures, according to the Verge. NASA supplies ISS with up to $4 billion annually, and the United States is committed to providing money through 2024.

A draft budget document for the agency's fiscal year 2019 budget proposal calls for "ending direct federal government support of the ISS by 2025" as one of several items meant to implement Space Policy Directive 1, the executive order signed by President Trump Dec. 11 directing NASA to return humans to the moon.

In 2014, NASA pledged to keep the ISS open, thanks to the Obama Administration extending funding through 2014.

One potential forum for making announcements on the future of the station is the Second International Space Exploration Forum, scheduled for March 3 in Tokyo, which will be attended by high-level government officials from major spacefaring countries. Popular Mechanics reported that officials from NASA and other space agencies gathered in Tokyo over the past few days to plan for construction in the 2020s.

An artist's rendering shows Sierra Nevada Corp.'s concept for a deep-space habitat. Losing ISS completely without a replacement already being operational would surely be a mistake as far as science and space research are concerned.

Two other companies, Axiom, and Nanoracks, are planning commercial space stations. Considering that commercial programmes from SpaceX and Boeing won't be ready to send their own astronauts to the ISS until 2019 at the earliest, and that it will only give commercial companies five years to conduct flight runs, lower-Earth space exploration looks very precarious indeed.

Those more ambitious programs such as a moon base or sending humans to Mars would also require resources far more extensive than would be freed up by simply discontinuing NASA's ISS funding, and are unlikely to materialise in the form of government funding in the current political climate.

To compensate for the lack of space shuttles, the plan was to get private companies involved. One of them is even attached to the station now, as a test site.

At the same time, NASA would ramp up a campaign focused on the vicinity of the moon, known as cislunar space, to "establish USA pre-eminence to, around and on the moon". "What also is a fact is the ISS is still the only game in town that we have at the moment".


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