NASA Wants to Sell the ISS to a Private Company in the 2020s

Getty Images / NASA

NASA announced plans on Thursday to transfer ownership of the International Space Station to a private company sometime between now and the mid-2020s.

“NASA’s trying to develop economic development in low-earth orbit,” NASA deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development Bill Hill said during a press conference. “Ultimately, our desire is to hand the space station over to either a commercial entity or some other commercial capability so that research can continue in low-earth orbit.”

Digital Trends reports that “the transfer of the ISS to commercial companies is already well underway” and that “the influx in commercial launches to the ISS ought to reduce NASA’s overall involvement in this particular project,” according to an unidentified source who works at the space agency. The report says that NASA wants to make the shift sometime in the next decade.

One such mission was run by SpaceX, the company founded to help Elon Musk put humans on Mars. SpaceX will also run two missions to shuttle astronauts between the U.S. and the ISS.

Those missions are part of the rush to commercialize low Earth orbit by SpaceX, Boeing, Axiom Space, and other. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see at least a few of those companies bid for the ISS. Bid farewell to government-run low Earth orbit space programs and say hello to the dawning privatization of the world’s next commercial frontier.

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