Russian Federation cancels supplies trip to International Space Station

Feb 15, 2018, 05:17
Russian Federation cancels supplies trip to International Space Station

US President Donald Trump's administration wants private businesses to run the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025, but that's "unrealistic" according to the head of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The approach the administration has chosen is one that would end NASA funding of the ISS in 2025, while offering support for the development of commercial successors.

The proposal has stated that given budget constraints and competing priorities at the US space agency, it is not the administration's priority to develop one more huge space telescope soon after the completion of the James Webb telescope that costs $ 8.8 billion.

NASA in 2022 hopes to launch the first portion of a small station to be placed in orbit around the moon. The United States has already spent some Dollars 100 billion to launch, operate and support the orbital station.

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The FY 2019 budget provides a top-line number of $19.892 billion for NASA, an increase over the FY 2018 budget of $19.519 billion that is largely attributable to the recent budget agreement passed by Congress, which raises spending levels for defense and discretionary spending. 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.

Next up for the Russians is the return of three station crew members aboard the Soyuz MS-06/52S spacecraft February 27, bringing outgoing station commander Alexander Misurkin and two NASA astronauts, Mark Vande Hei and Joseph Acaba, back to a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan to close out a 166-day stay in space.

The goal of that effort would be to have commercial facilities in operation by the time NASA funding for the ISS ends in 2025, with NASA potentially being a customer of those facilities to support its research needs, such as for exploration beyond Earth orbit.

The NASA document notes that the station's global partners are each at a different state in planning for operations of the ISS beyond 2024.

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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 administration's budget for NASA is a nonstarter".

The budget would eliminate funding for NASA's Office of Education, repeating a proposal that failed a year ago. Both nations are required for the space station to function with any degree of safety using separate flight control centers. "We look forward to working together with the Administration and Congress to preserve American leadership in space with the resources to match". WFIRST was a mission that the National Academies of Science listed as the decade's No. 1 priority for future NASA astrophysics missions.

Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator, called it a "pretty exciting time" for the agency.

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