Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida who likes to remind you he’s traveled into outer space, is criticizing a proposal by President Donald Trump to privatize the International Space Station after its current U.S. funding expires in 2024.
“The administration’s budget for NASA is a nonstarter,” Nelson said in a release. “If we’re ever going to get to Mars with humans on board and return them safely, then we need a larger funding increase for NASA. The proposal would also end support for the International Space Station in 2025 and make deep cuts to popular education and science programs. Turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space at a time when we’re pushing the frontiers of exploration makes no sense.”
Trump’s budget proposal for 2019 has NASA turning over operations of the station to commercial operators or the other nations partnering on the space platform after 2024. Nelson’s already griped about the president’s position on NASA.
The station costs about $3 billion a year to run.
The station is currently expected to be in use through 2028, the 30th year after its first component was launched into orbit.
President Barack Obama in 2008 extended the U.S. operational portion of the ISS until 2024.