Mixed Reactions to Plans End Direct Federal Funding to ISS in 2025

This artist’s concept shows how a future robot called LEMUR (Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot) could inspect and maintain installations on the International Space Station. The robot would stick to the outside using a gecko-inspired gripping system. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

There have been some varied reactions to the Trump Administration’s proposal to end direct federal funding to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2025 in favor of commercial ventures in low Earth orbit and a focus on returning astronauts to the moon.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)

“The administration’s budget for NASA is a nonstarter. If we’re ever going to get to Mars with humans on board and return them safely, then we need a larger funding increase for NASA. The proposal would also end support for the International Space Station in 2025 and make deep cuts to popular education and science programs. 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.”

Robert Bigelow
Founder, Bigelow Aerospace

“The new budget is Earth shattering news in the space world. There are multiple pathways that can energize exciting opportunities over the next few years. Bigelow Aerospace applauds the focus on commercial partnerships for low Earth orbit and lunar exploration and stands ready to partner with NASA and others — in new and exciting ways that we will announce in the near future.”

Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

  The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (Coalition) welcomes the release of the President’s FY 2019 Budget Request for NASA today. The budget request, which proposes an increase to the agency’s topline to $19.9 billion and funds key exploration program objectives, including NASA’s flagship human exploration systems— the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion crew spacecraft and Exploration Ground Systems— as well as the James Webb Space Telescope, Europa Clipper and Mars 2020 planetary science missions. It also proposes a series of Lunar Exploration and science missions in partnership with industry and would establish the first elements of long-term Lunar Outpost – Gateway as a platform for a range of missions for NASA, as well as international and industry partners.
“The Coalition is encouraged by the focus on deep space exploration in the FY19 budget request, which establishes a strong role for NASA and its industry, and international partners as we prepare to return to the Moon. These exploration programs support the policy directive set forth last year in Space Policy Directive-1, and will ensure continued U.S. leadership in space,” said Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, President and CEO of the Coalition. “At the same time, we are concerned about the proposed cancellation of the Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST), which was the New Worlds New Horizons Decadal Survey’s highest-ranked large space initiative.”
“Additionally, we note the widely-reported proposal to end government funding for the International Space Station (ISS) in 2025. Although we support the Administration’s initiative to ensure an ongoing U.S. presence in low Earth orbit, we hope that the Administration and Congress will reach consensus on a plan to ensure that any transition incorporates the myriad constituencies and functions currently served by the ISS – including its role as an Exploration testbed.”
“Although we await additional details about the budget request, the increase in NASA’s topline funding level and emphasis on exploration is welcome, and we look forward to learning more in the days ahead,” concluded Dr. Dittmar.