Lightfoot said commercial ventures could provide low-Earth-orbit capabilities "either at the ISS or on standalone platforms that both private sector and NASA can use".
The NASA document indicates the administration "will request market analysis and business plans from the commercial sector and solicit plans from commercial industry" as it hammers out a fuller plan. NASA now spends about $3-4 billion per years to run it, and the government has spent around $100 billion on it total since the ISS was first launched into low-Earth orbit in 1998.
The budget for NASA calls for a renewed effort on space exploration, and to land robotic missions to the moon ahead of a return of humans to the moon as a prelude for further space exploration.
In 1998, the 15 governments involved in the Space Station project signed an worldwide treaty, allowing the partners to extend their national jurisdiction in outer space. With ISS operational costs running around $3 billion per year, there is an underlying disincentive for companies to purchase hardware that was first launched into space in 1998.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz told the Post that abandoning the program was "one of the dumbest things you can do".
Boeing, which operates the ISS for NASA, also opposes Trump's plan.
A Russian resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was automatically aborted at the last minute. The ISS, after all, has largely been used for research purposes.
The question now is: Who would be willing to take on this expensive and complicated task? Mike Suffredini, a former space station program manager for NASA who now runs Axiom Space in Houston and aims to establish the world's first commercial space station cautioned that the USA government needs to have a direct hand in the International Space Station until it comes down. Astronauts have lived in space every day since the year 2000, performing research that could not be done on Earth otherwise.
As part of a congressionally-mandated ISS transition plan yet to be released, NASA examined several options for the station's future, according to that document.
The budget request "reflects the administration's confidence that America will lead the way back to the moon and take the next giant leap from where we made that first small step for humanity almost 50 years ago", NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said today in a "State of NASA" address at the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.