According to an internal NASA document obtained by the Washington Post, the Trump administration has its sights set on turning the International Space Station over to the private sector when direct federal financial support comes to an end in 2025. "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 document states. "NASA will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit."
To ensure that there is as smooth a transition as possible, the administration is requesting $150 million in 2019 with more coming in the following years "to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial successors to the ISS — potentially including elements of the ISS — are operational when they are needed."
The plan will assuredly face its fair share of opposition, especially from those who feel as though privatizing the ISS will simply throw away all the billions of dollars put towards the program. Frank Slazer, Aerospace Industries Association vice president of space systems, rejects the idea of turning the ISS into a commercially run venture, arguing that the plan will run into problems given the program's international ties. "It will be very hard to turn ISS into a truly commercial outpost because of the international agreements that the United States is involved in," Slazer told the Washington Post. "It's inherently always going to be an international construct that requires U.S. government involvement and multinational cooperation."