The goal of that effort would be to have commercial facilities in operation by the time NASA funding for the ISS ends in 2025, with NASA potentially being a customer of those facilities to support its research needs, such as for exploration beyond Earth orbit.
"The administration's budget for NASA is a nonstarter", said U.S. Sen.
The budget request, which was released today (Feb. 12), allocates about $19.9 billion to NASA, an increase of $370 million over last year's request.
Putting $150 million toward commercial development for the space station would be a "great indication" the administration is confident in what the private sector can do, CSF executive director Tommy Sanford told CNN.
"It's a good place for the conversation to begin", said Andrew Rush, CEO of Made in Space, which uses 3D printing to build hardware for space.
Robert Bigelow, the founder of Bigelow Aerospace, a private company that has its own moduleattached to the space station, praised the budget proposal.
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It would eliminate a number of science missions as well as end federal funding for the International Space Station after 2024, the year funding for the space station is already scheduled to stop.
But key US legislators and space experts are expressing concern about the plan.
A Russian Progress cargo ship carrying three tons of supplies and equipment blasted off from Kazakhstan early Tuesday and set off after the International Space Station.
Right now, all researchers who send experiments to the space station get a free ride and free labor.
"The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time - it is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform", the paper said, citing an internal memo from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Additionally, the new budget proposal will cancel five Earth science missions, including the Radiation Budget Instrument, the Plankton; Aerosol; Cloud; ocean Ecosystem (PACE), the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR)'s Earth-viewing instruments, and the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder. Drug companies like Merck and Eli Lilly have used the space station to research medications.
SpaceX and Boeing, meanwhile, are developing crew capsules to fly astronauts to and from the space station within the next year.
Hertz also added that only way to preserve the US space agency's ability to meet the established target cost and deliver the project on time is to maintain progress against the existing plan, should Congress decide against Trump's proposal to eliminate WFIRST.