WASHINGTON — NASA’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal will include plans to end funding for the International Space Station in 2025, but leaves open the possibility of handing part or all of the station over to private operators.
The budget proposal, due to be released Feb. 12, will include a request for $150 million to support the development of commercial capabilities in low-Earth orbit to succeed the ISS, for which NASA could be a customer, according to an internal agency document obtained by SpaceNews.
As part of a congressionally-mandated ISS transition plan yet to be released, NASA examined several options for the station’s future, according to that document. Those options ranged from continuing the ISS “as is” beyond 2024 to deorbiting the entire station, as well as options to operate the station as a public-private partnership or transfer parts of the station to a private platform. [From Ike to Trump: Presidential Visions for Space Exploration]