US President Donald Trump, on Monday, unveiled the 2019 budget proposal and as expected he has given more emphasis on return of American astronauts to Moon. The Trump administration has decided to end the US government funding for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025 under its 2019 proposed budget.
President Trump wants NASA to focus more on human exploration to Moon and Mars and that is why it wants the space agency to give less emphasis on ISS in the coming years. The US government has also proposed a $150m (£108m) for ISS to encourage commercial deployment at the space station. The white house proposal released on Monday says, “The budget proposes to end direct US financial support for the International Space Station in 2025, after which NASA would rely on commercial partners for its low Earth orbit research and technology demonstration requirements.”
According to US government, the proposed $150 million will be used to create a programme to help prepare private companies or commercial entities to take over the ISS operations over the next seven years, as reported by BBC. The 2019 budget proposal wants to increase NASA funding to 3 percent and the Trump administration has proposed $19.6bn for NASA in 2019, an increase of $500m from the current year. Also, the 2019 budget proposal wants to give $10.5bn for an innovative and sustainable campaign of exploration” which would lead to the return of humans to the moon for long-term exploration as well as utilization followed by human missions to Mars and beyond that, as per a NASA review. All these things indicate that the US government is more interested in human explorations of space rather than research and experiments on ISS.
Many scientists and space experts have started expressing concerns regarding Trump’s proposal of cutting government funding for the ISS. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who flew to space in 1986, “The administration’s budget for NASA is a nonstarter. 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.” But NASA’s acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot, calls the 2019 budget proposal of Trump as a “pretty exciting time” for the space agency. “It really reflects the administration’s confidence that the USA will lead the way back to the moon and take that next giant leap from where we made the first small step for humanity some 50 years ago,” said Lightfoot