Bigelow's tweet suggests that he is more than willing to step up and start a commercial sector in low Earth orbit, supported by private spacecraft such as the Boeing Starliner and the SpaceX Dragon 2, that were developed for the ISS.
The federal agency declined to comment to Geek, saying only that NASA and the International Space Station partnership "is committed to full scientific and technical research on the orbiting laboratory, as it is the foundation on which we will extend human presence deeper into space".
An official budget request is set for release on February 12, giving the space community a little more than two weeks to change the president's mind.
Different countries have built out different sections of the space station, so for example, the kitchen is located in the Russian area-things might get messy if one country pulls out and the others try to keep the project going. The ISS is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2028, when it will become nonoperational due to thermal and mechanical stress that it accumulated over its lifetime. If NASA pulls its support for the station, it is unclear how these worldwide partners will respond regarding continued ISS operation. This includes a new trip to the Moon for an eventual manned flight to Mars.
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A similar situation happened in 2011, when the Obama administration made cuts that terminated its Space Shuttle program. Companies like Bigelow and Axiom need to start developing private markets, everything from space tourism to manufacturing products in microgravity. This left NASA without a way to send astronauts to space. It has been seven years, and they're close but still haven't been able to take people there. All that money has been put to good use, enabling NASA and partners to perform novel science while sustaining commercial activities.
Nelson, who is attempted to derail the appointment of Jim Bridenstine, a young, reformer, as NASA administrator is flirting with becoming the William Proxmire, a foe of all space exploration in the 20th Century, for the current era.
Those more ambitious programs such as a moon base or sending humans to Mars would also require resources far more extensive than would be freed up by simply discontinuing NASA's ISS funding, and are unlikely to materialise in the form of government funding in the current political climate.