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United States govt plans to privatize International Space Station

This uncrewed cargo mission plans to deliver three tons of food fuel and other supplies

The idea is to ensure a seamless transition from government-funded ISS operations to an outpost using new components, or even elements of the current space station, that would be operated as a base for private sector innovation, worldwide cooperation and NASA experiments and research needed for eventual flights back to the moon and on to Mars.

And for the second straight year, the Trump administration proposes killing five missions that study Earth, especially its climate and the effects of carbon dioxide.

The draft transition proposal states that a platform of some sort in low-Earth orbit is needed for medical research to learn more about the long-term medical impacts of the space environment and to develop the life support and other critical systems needed for eventual long-term stays on the moon or even longer flights to Mars.

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.

Congress has directed NASA to study the feasibility of extending space station operations, which cost about $3 billion a year, to 2028 or 2030. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who rocketed into orbit in 1986, said "turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space" makes no sense.

The station is a joint project of several space-faring nations, and NASA has contracted with private companies, like Boeing and SpaceX, to reach it in recent years.

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The location of the speech carried symbolic weight, alluding to the longstanding trade relationship between the USA and Canada. Trudeau said Trump has agreed with that sentiment in talks the two leaders have had.

Robert Bigelow, the founder of Bigelow Aerospace, a private company that has its own moduleattached to the space station, praised the budget proposal.

Beginning during the presidency of George W Bush (2001- 2009), NASA has subcontracted certain ISS support operations, starting with the supply flights now carried out by the SpaceX and Orbital ATK companies - a trend that gained speed during the Obama presidency. The end of the shuttle program prompted NASA to turn over the business of supplying the station to private firms. NASA is in charge of US science and technology that has to do with airplanes or space. Mike Suffredini, a former space station program manager for NASA who now runs Axiom Space in Houston and aims to establish the world's first commercial space station cautioned that the US government needs to have a direct hand in the International Space Station until it comes down.

The president proposed to end government funding for the space station in seven years' time, in his budget for fiscal year 2019.

"In short, we are once again on a path to return to the Moon with an eye toward Mars".

When that mission launches, it will be the first human mission to the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972. They will boost the lab's crew back to six, joining Expedition 55 commander Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and Japanese physician-astronaut Norishige Kanai. The budget for the mission was already being trimmed down after it was found to be getting too costly.

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