The international space station is a joint venture of the United States, Russia, the ESA, Japan and Canada. Its purpose was for use as a laboratory and undertake research on various aspects of living in space in zero gravity conditions. However, in case the Trump administration wants to stop funding it and hands it over to a third party, there could be hurdles to maintain the continuity of work.

Los Angeles Times reports that the proposal was a part of the president’s 2019 budget blueprint.

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The move has taken many by surprise but a former astronaut of NASA feels otherwise. In her opinion, in case the management of the skylab is handed over to the private industry, NASA could concentrate on missions to the moon and Mars.

Opinions of a NASA astronaut

Sandy Magnus is an astronaut who has lived on the International Space Station for 4 1/2 months in 2008 and 2009. She has revealed the nature of research carried out in the skylab. It embraces a whole range of subjects that are linked to survival in an alien environment and include subjects like psychology and human behavior.

When it comes to missions to the moon, Mars and beyond, and expand the scope of human spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit, it would require a closed system for life support. The ISS is engaged in such activities.

As things stand right now, there are a few private companies like Boeing that work with NASA to help manage the ISS. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is another such company that ferries equipment and astronauts to and from the ISS which could be a stopover for space tourists and those who want to go to other planets.

It is difficult to forecast the situation in case the ownership is transferred in totality to private companies. They could exploit its commercial potentials to the hilt at the expense of scientific research.

Who will buy the ISS?

The International Space Station is equipped with many outdated technologies that would need to be replaced in totality, and the new setup could go in for a total overhaul.

According to Wired UK, the future of the ISS is uncertain. It is a joint venture between the space agencies of Canada, the United States, Russia, Japan and Europe. The bulk of the funding is by NASA and if the source of funds dries up, the skylab would come to a halt in 2024. In case that does happen, other countries like China and Russia could seize the opportunity to reap the economic and political benefits. That could hurt the interests of America.

Mirror UK adds that Russia has already expressed an interest in having a five-star hotel on the ISS to encourage space tourism. The rooms would have all modern amenities, and the tourists could get an opportunity to go for a spacewalk [VIDEO] in the company of a professional cosmonaut.