Los Angeles, CA, November 20, 1998 – The Space Frontier Foundation praised a new plan by NASA to hand over operations of the International Space Station (ISS) to the private sector, and called for its immediate implementation. The “Commercial Development Plan for the International Space Station” recommends ISS be managed by a “non-governmental organization” to handle operations and deal with both government and commercial users of the facility, acting as landlord and station manager.
Stated Foundation President, Rick Tumlinson: “The old plan for running ISS was a disaster for opening space to the people and exploring the Solar System. The Federal government finally realized it has no business managing what is essentially a giant building complex in space. We are glad to see they decided to bring in the private sector to do what it does best, so NASA can go do what it does best, science and exploration. This is great news.”
The Foundation has been pushing for privatizing and commercializing ISS for years, as a part of its “Alpha Town” concept, with ISS acting as the economic center of the first human town in space. A government owned and operated ISS will mean billions of tax dollars wasted, tens of billions more in new business opportunities squandered, and NASA’s own ambitions to land humans on Mars and explore the rest of space postponed for decades to come.
“We need a complete hand off of the station’s ownership, with the governments who footed the construction bill becoming prime tenants, and the rest of the station declared open for business,” said Tumlinson, who recently testified before Congress on this issue with NASA Administrator Dan Goldin.
The Foundation called for NASA to bring in the people who can make this happen, entrepreneurs, visionaries and managers who have studied how to privatize the station and those who know how to efficiently run complex enterprises here on Earth.
Tumlinson concluded: “If this plan is made real we will see a new era in space, with the private sector creating new jobs and products in orbit, as the world’s space agencies get back to doing science and exploring the far frontiers of the Solar System and beyond.”