Trump Administration: End NASA Funding for ISS by 2025
Another day, another Trump administration budget cut at the expense of American innovation. Now the two-decades old International Space Station program, which provides NASA with its only base in space, is likely up on the chopping block.
A recent draft of the Trump administration's budget proposal calls for the ISS to be defunded to the point where it cannot continue, and though the proposal might still change before the official budget request is released on February 12, multiple insiders say that this is the final draft.
Though Congress ultimately has final approval on the decision, the proposal itself spells bad news for NASA's international partners and investors, as it sends a sign that the program lacks the government's full support. Many of NASA's partners are not currently signed on to continue supporting our space program past 2024 with the help of an Obama-era extension, and this budget proposal doesn't exactly encourage them to continue the relationship.
Last year, Trump signed the NASA Transition Authorization Act, requiring the space organization to figure out a way to divert the ISS away from NASA funding. Though the ISS costs us $3-4 billion per year, our government has already invested over $87 billion into the project that would be for naught if this budget passes. Though the NASA Transition Authorization Act was due to congress on December 1st, NASA did not issue a statement as to whether or not they had provided Congress with the report.
By all accounts, this budget goes against Trump's own stated desires for NASA to put a man back on the moon.
In order to do that, the agency will need a lot more hardware. Congress and other government organizations seem to think that by getting the ISS off of NASA's expenses, the organization will have more resources to create vehicles that can explore deep space. If this is true, it's only because of the flat budgets NASA faces in coming years.
None of this is to say that NASA isn't figuring out ways to explore space without diverting funds away from the ISS. Last spring, NASA revealed its concept for a Mars rover that looks an awful lot like the batmobile. They've also been working on robotic drones that can make the need for rovers obsolete. NASA is also developing a drone to look for alien life on Saturn's largest moon.