The Trump administration is looking to sell the ISS to the highest bidder and China and Russia are interested.

International Space Station seen from Space Shuttle Atlantis
International Space Station seen from Space Shuttle Atlantis. Photo: ESA

( — February 13, 2018) –NASA plans to cancel funding of the International Space Station, the Washington Post reports.

The paper refers to the NASA document that transferring the ISS into the corporative hands should be ready by 2024. It is not disclosed, however, which corporation is interested to by the space station, but question remains is the ISS US’s to sell?

Although the US is the larger financial contributor the International Space Station is developed and maintained by Russia, Japan, Canada and many EU countries summed up under the term the European Partner.

The White House reported last year that the International Space Station cost the US tax payers around $4 billion a year and the government is going to stop funding it.

Claiming it would be better for the US if the ISS is handed to a corporation, the Trump’s administration, however, don’t want to cut ties with this space program. It rather looks for a partner in private sector to pay a bill for “certain elements or capabilities”.

“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 reads.

The US has spent nearly $100 billion building and operating the ISS since it was established. The funding of ISS was extended by NASA and its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos, who stated that if US pull the plug funding the ISS it would detach its modules from the space station.

The Russian Federation also offered a plan to introduce China as a partner to maintain the ISS as it is.

On the other side, the Trump’s administration is looking to sell the ISS to the highest bidder and some of the richest corporations in the world are not from the US.

The legal owners of the ISIS, however, might say something about it. According the International document signed in 1995, the ownership over the ISS is shared between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and each co-operating Space Agency: European Space Agency (ESA), Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The conclusion is that if the US stop funding the ISS the China may cut in, but the US has no legal right to decide the future of the Space Station without it’s partners.