by Countable | 1.25.18
Space exploration is not cheap. The United States spends $3-$4 billion per year funding the International Space Station, and has invested over $87 billion in it over the last 20 years. Now they are hoping to shift funding of the station to the private sector in order to free up funds for other projects, including building a permanent space station on the Moon.
The Verge reports the International Space Station, "[has] become a major hub for conducting both government and commercial experiments in microgravity, as well as testing out how the human body responds to weightlessness."
Currently the International Space Station is funded through 2024. The commercial space industry has said they are unlikely to be ready to take over funding for the station until 2028, which would lead to a gap in human activities in lower Earth orbit.
A similar gap in activity happened as a result of the canceling of Space Shuttle funding by the Obama administration in 2011. The plan was for commercial entities to take those activities over, and seven years later they’re still not ready.
The administration is scheduled to release their FY2019 budget on February 12, so station funding could be put back in by then. Even if it’s not, Congress actually writes and passes the final budget.
Assuming they can actually pass one, which hasn’t been going very smoothly in FY2018.
Should the U.S. continue to fund the International Space Station until commercial companies can take over funding, so there’s no interruption in activity? Or should the companies, along with other international partners have to step up and cover it?
Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!
— Asha Sanaker
(Photo Credit: Nasa.gov / Creative Commons)
Written by Countable