International Space Station

Nelson to Trump: Don’t outsource space!

iss054e022063Sen. 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.

— By Jim Turner.

NELSON: Trump “going to have a fight” over NASA proposal

iss054e022063U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, lashed out following a report that the Trump administration plans to cut off funding for the International Space Station by 2025.

“If the administration plans to abruptly pull us out of the International Space Station in 2025, they’re going to have a fight on their hands,” Nelson, a onetime astronaut from the state’s Space Coast region, said in a press release yesterday. The Commerce Committee oversees the space industry.

“Such a move would likely decimate Florida’s blossoming commercial space industry, which is one of the reasons why Congress has directed NASA to look at extending the ISS to 2028 and to provide a plan to help scientists and researchers continue experimenting in low-Earth orbit beyond that,” Nelson, who could be facing a match-up against Republican Gov. Rick Scott this year, added.

The Wall Street Journal was among a number of sources on Thursday reporting that the White House’s next NASA budget will feature public-private missions tied to a trip to the moon, while eliminating funding for the International Space Station around 2025.

We love the headline on the WSJ story: “Trump’s NASA Budget: More Moon, Less Space Station.”

By Jim Turner.