Somebody Just Buy the ISS Already


What Congress doesn’t want to do is keep shelling out money to keep the thing operational. That $3 or $4 billion spent each year mostly goes toward launching astronauts, and accounts for about half of NASA’s human exploration budget—the same pile the agency would need to send people to Mars, the moon, an asteroid, or whatever its next ambition might be. Here’s how Brian Babin, US Representative from Texas and chair of the US House’s Subcommittee on Space, framed the conundrum: “While I believe it is in the nation’s interest to encourage a thriving economy in space, we must balance our support for private-sector efforts while also prioritizing NASA’s role as an exploration agency.”