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 [senate.gov] over the space station's transition during a Senate space subcommittee hearing [senate.gov] 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 [arstechnica.com].
Related: NASA Intends to Privatize International Space Station [soylentnews.org]
Congress Ponders the Fate of the ISS after 2024 [soylentnews.org]
Buzz Aldrin: Retire the ISS to Reach Mars [soylentnews.org]
Can the International Space Station be Saved? Should It be Saved? [soylentnews.org]
Trump Administration Plans to End Support for the ISS by 2025 [soylentnews.org]