Wanting to reinvigorate - and fund - new space exploration, which has been hit by decades of stagnation and planned government spending cuts, President Donald Trump's administration will reportedly be working to privatize the International Space Station.
The document reportedly says that the end of USA federal spending on the ISS "does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time", adding it is possible that industry could "continue to operate certain elements or capabilities" as part of a "commercial platform".
It's been known for some time that the White House has been considering cutting off funding to the International Space Station by 2025 to free up resources for NASA, an agency US President Donald Trump wants to send astronauts back to the moon but has also proposed should make do with a shoestring budget.
However, the Washington Post also reported that the White House apparently doesn't have anyone specific in mind to take over the space station, which costs $US3 -4 billion a year to run and has already run the federal government almost $US100 billion in construction, maintenance, and operational costs.
"NASA will expand global and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit", the document says. The United States has already spent some US$100 billion to launch, operate and support the orbital station.
Mr Cruz said the decision was the result of "numbskulls" at the Office of Management and Budget.
"As a fiscal conservative, you know one of the dumbest things you can to is cancel programs after billions in investment when there is still serious usable life ahead", Cruz told the Post. NASA would just be one of the ISS or that theoretical future private space station's clients, reversing the current arrangement where NASA personnel and their worldwide partners manage the station and conduct onboard experiments.
"It will be very hard to turn ISS into a truly commercial outpost because of the worldwide agreements that the United States is involved in", Aerospace Industries Association vice president of space systems Frank Slazer told the Post. "It's inherently always going to be an global construct that requires US government involvement and multi-national cooperation".
Aerospace company Boeing now operates the station for NASA, which costs $US3 to $US4 billion each year.
The White House has said it "will request market analysis and business plans from the commercial sector and solicit plans from commercial industry".
The US plan, the paper said, involves privatising the ISS, a low-orbit space station piloted by the US space agency NASA and developed jointly with its Russian counterpart. Subcontractor operations gained momentum during the Obama presidency.