In other words, to transition to some sort of a public-private partnership.The document says 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".
Congress has directed NASA to study the feasibility of extending ISS operations to 2028 or 2030, but the study is not yet complete.
Of course, the U.S.is not the only country with interest in the ISS; other countries have plans for the station's fate, too.
For example, under a table titled "Lunar Exploration Campaign", the agency will fund small- to medium-sized landers between now and 2023 (up to 1,000kg to the surface of the Moon), before finally beginning work on a human-rated lander in late 2023 or 2024.
It was reported last month that Trump would request an end to ISS funding by 2025, which many have criticized as throwing a wrench in USA space exploration plans, as the ISS is the sole destination for US astronauts. The ISS was pretty much finished in 2011 when Nasa's space shuttles were retired.
The proposal also calls for spending $150 million in 2019 to "encourage commercial development" and tee up companies to take over. But the clear goal is a more public-private partnership requiring less government funding.
Moreover, this notional timeline for a lunar program start has little or no actual budget attached to it, and there are no details in this document about whether such a program would include robust worldwide partnerships, or the extent to which private-partnerships would be utilized. "As a fiscal conservative, you know one of the dumbest things you can to is cancel programs after billions in investment when there is still serious usable life ahead", he said, though he qualified that he was open to "reasonable proposals".
The space station is an worldwide partnership, and it's not clear what privatizing the USA portion would mean for the other countries. It has produced enormous benefits to the United States and to the world, and we should use that asset as long as it is technologically feasible and cost effective to do so. "I$3 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.
"Further, drawing on the interests and capabilities of our industry and worldwide partners, we'll develop progressively complex robotic missions to the surface of the Moon with scientific and exploration objectives in advance of human return there", he added.
"One could pose the question the other way round and say that the USA have now considered using the station beyond 2024 after all, " he said. Moreover, the budget features some high profile and controversial cancellations, including the WFIRST space telescope, Earth Science, and the NASA Office of Education.
"It's imperative, it's critical", Bigelow Aerospace founder and President Robert Bigelow told FOX Business, regarding the White House's budget request.