Donald Trump could privatise the International Space Station in a bid to cut down the billions of dollars the US spends on its space programme.
The ISS has hosted more than 100 astronauts over the past two decades – including Britain’s Major Tim Peake – but the US, which contributes the lion’s share of funding, is set to pull support after 2024.
It costs the US about £2.4bn a year to operate the ISS, with other countries contributing about £720m.
The proposal that could see it instead run and funded by private companies has been drawn up by the US President’s administration as one option to keep the orbiting laboratory in use.
Nasa has requested almost £110m to help prepare the station for commercial use.
It said: ‘The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS does not imply 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.’