U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed turning over to private businesses U.S. operations on the International Space Station, which is currently run jointly by the U.S. and Russian governments, RFE/RL reports.
In his 2019 budget for the U.S. government, Trump on February 12 proposed to end NASA funding for the space station by 2025. The budget would set aside only $150 million to encourage private development of the station, and devote the savings to Trump's goal of sending astronauts once again to the moon.
"We're building capability for the eventual human exploration of deep space and the moon is a stepping stone," NASA's acting chief financial officer Andrew Hunter said.
But key U.S. legislators and space experts are expressing concern about the plan. Senator Bill Nelson, who went into space in 1986, said "turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space" makes no sense.
Retired NASA historian Roger Launius said the plan would affect all the other countries involved in the space station, including Russia and countries in Europe and Asia which have participated in space station projects.