NASA documents have revealed that the administration wants to turn the ISS into a facility run by private industry instead of run and funded by governments, the Washington Post reports. The White House currently plans to stop funding the ISS after 2024. As the NASA documents state:
“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. 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.”
The document goes further, revealing the administration wants to encourage “the emergence of an environment in [low Earth orbit] where NASA is one of many customers of a non-governmental human space flight managed and operated enterprise, while providing a smooth and uninterrupted transition.”
As to what private companies could take over this valuable piece of low Earth orbit real estate? None were mentioned in the document, but it’s easy to envision that Elon Musk’s SpaceX or Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin could be interested.