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Intersection: Privatizing the International Space Station

The International Space Station. Photo: NASA
The International Space Station. Photo: NASA

The Washington Post reported recently that NASA is considering turning the International Space Station over to private companies to run. Washington Post reporter Christian Davenport tells Intersection the White House wants to end direct funding for the space station in 7 years, and NASA is trying to figure out the future of the ISS beyond that.

Davenport says NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine  has talked to large corporations about managing the space station through a consortium.

"The idea is that if NASA could get out of running it on a day-to-day basis and turn over operations a company or a consortium of companies, then NASA could continue to use it and benefit from it but be one of many customers that would go up and use the International Space Station," Davenport says.

"It's now used as a research laboratory, you could see it being used for that purpose. Perhaps you could get wealthy individuals who would want to go up there for a week or two, sort of use it as a space hotel."

He says Florida's space industry is central to the idea of commercial space along with the "growth of the Space Coast."

"There's a lot going on in space right now too and there's a lot going on at NASA. It's a really fascinating time," Davenport says.