It was reported last year that the International Space Station could be decommissioned by 2024 but if a new report is to be believed, that might not happen. That’s because the Trump administration is now believed to be thinking about privatizing the massive international experiment that orbits the planet. The administration is now mulling the idea of handing over the International Space Station to the private industry.
The International Space Station was built as part of a significant international effort with the Russian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The U.S. government has spent almost $100 billion to build and operate the ISS so far.
The Washington Post reports that it has obtained a document which suggests that the Trump administration is thinking about privatizing the ISS instead of decommissioning it as NASA “will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit.”
This means that the administration sees an option beyond the ISS being de-orbited in 2025 once the funding dries up. It could hand over control to a private company so that the ISS can continue its operations.
With NASA expected to focus on missions to the Moon and beyond, an eventual handover of the ISS to a private company wouldn’t surprise a lot of people, but it remains to be seen in what manner the handover will be conducted if the administration decides to go ahead with it.