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posted by martyb on Friday May 18 2018, @06:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the why-so-costly? dept.

Trump's plan to privatize the ISS by 2025 probably won't work, NASA's inspector general says

The Trump Administration's plan to hand the International Space Station off to the private sector by 2025 probably won't work, says a government auditor. It's unlikely that any commercial companies will be able to take on the enormous costs of operating the ISS within the next six years, the auditor said.

NASA's inspector general, Paul Martin, laid out his concerns over the space station's transition during a Senate space subcommittee hearing May 16th, helmed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). During his testimony, Martin said that there's just no "sufficient business case" for space companies to take on the ISS's yearly operations costs, which are expected to reach $1.2 billion in 2024. The industries that would need the ISS, such as space tourism or space research and development, haven't panned out yet, he noted. Plus, the private space industry hasn't been very enthusiastic about using the ISS either — for research or for profit. "Candidly, the scant commercial interest shown in the station over its nearly 20 years of operation gives us pause about the agency's current plans," Martin said at the hearing.

Also at Ars Technica.

Related: NASA Intends to Privatize International Space Station
Congress Ponders the Fate of the ISS after 2024
Buzz Aldrin: Retire the ISS to Reach Mars
Can the International Space Station be Saved? Should It be Saved?
Trump Administration Plans to End Support for the ISS by 2025


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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18 2018, @01:52PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18 2018, @01:52PM (#681158)

    Can we drop the ISS off on the Moon or some other place where it would provide userful materials for future projects? Steel, wiring, insulation, etc. This stuff isn't cheap to put into orbit.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Friday May 18 2018, @04:58PM

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday May 18 2018, @04:58PM (#681258) Journal

    ISS lift cost to LEO for modules that used the Space Shuttle was $18,000 to $60,000 per kg [wikipedia.org]. Some modules were lifted using Proton rockets, at around $5,000 per kg.

    BFR will be somewhere between $75 and $500 per kg. Maybe not "cheap", but close to it.

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