Feb 11, 2018

White House reportedly wants to privatize the International Space Station

The International Space Station. Photo: NASA

The Trump administration is considering turning the International Space Station into a private enterprise, The Washington Post reports, citing an internal NASA document it has obtained. The document also says the White House plans to stop providing government funding for the orbiting laboratory after 2024.

What we're hearing: Bob Jacobs, a senior NASA spokesperson, didn't deny the report when contacted by Axios. He said it cannot be confirmed ahead of the White House budget release on Monday.

Details: The Post says the document didn't specify how privatization of the station would work or the private companies that might take ownership. But the document did say the administration “will request market analysis and business plans from the commercial sector and solicit plans from commercial industry."

  • While the government plans to end federal support for the station by 2025, it does not mean that it would be privatized by then.
  • "[I]t is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform,” the NASA document states, per The Post.

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Coronavirus cases rise, as more Americans on cruise confirmed ill

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A U.S. public health official confirms more than 40 Americans on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan have coronavirus, while the remaining U.S. citizens without symptoms are being evacuated.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

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Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign's big hedge on Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending.

But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted: "As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."

Trump's revenge tour has the House in its sights

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November, several people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.