Trump administration wants to pull funding for the International Space Station

NASA astronaut in ISS conducts first spacewalk of year

The Verge reported they reviewed a draft budget proposal that included plans to stop support for ISS by 2025.

The International Space Station has been continuously occupied since 2000.

The draft budget was seen by The Verge. NASA says it won't comment until the final proposal is submitted on February 12.

Last year, Trump signed an authorization act that directed NASA to find a way for the ISS to be less reliant on NASA funding.

For more than a decade, White House officials have struggled with the tension between continuing to spend roughly $4 billion annually on the International Space Station and shifting some or all of that money to boost space travel beyond Earth orbit.

But for all the talk about pulling support from the space station, the White House is on the record with its support of maintaining a human presence in low Earth orbit, the neighborhood in space that the station inhabits. This could also cause other countries to send their own space programs to different locations. NASA's objectives will include "Pursuing a cislunar campaign that will establish United States preeminence to, around, and on the Moon".

It could be construed by the global space community as the U.S. not being interested in the programme any more.

The new policy will also "establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond", the President had remarked.

"Without somewhere to operate and a predictable way of getting there, operations are not possible and expansion of American free enterprise in space is stifled", the chief executive officer of Made in Space, Andrew Rush, in 2017.

With the proposed de-funding of the ISS, Mr Trump's "America First" foreign policy doctrine may have been extended to outer space.

SpaceX and Boeing plan to launch demonstration flights of their crew capsules later this year that will launch astronauts to the station from US soil for the first time since the end of the shuttle program.

A slew of government and private experiments have been conducted on the station, which now has a crew of two American, three Russian, and one Japanese astronaut.

SpaceX and Boeing are under contracts to fly astronauts there, in test flights that could begin this year. Funding for the ISS was approved by the Obama administration through 2024, though the provision left the door open to continue USA federal funding for the station into 2028. However, funding for the lunar venture, and the giant rocket to launch it, needs to come from somewhere, and the ISS is the major NASA program approaching the end of its life rather than the beginning.

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