"Nobody that I've heard is talking about operating beyond 2028", said John Logsdon, a noted space historian, author and analyst who had not yet reviewed the draft report.
Hertz also added that only way to preserve the USA space agency's ability to meet the established target cost and deliver the project on time is to maintain progress against the existing plan, should Congress decide against Trump's proposal to eliminate WFIRST.
The Soyuz 2-1a booster carrying the Progress MS-08/69P cargo craft took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:13 a.m. EST (GMT-5; 2:13 p.m. local time), streaking away through a cold, overcast sky and climbing directly into the plane of the space station's orbit.
The American lab on board the ISS - called the U.S. National Laboratory - already conducts experiments partly paid for by private industry, but those experiments could get much more expensive if federal funding is cut off. Drug companies like Merck and Eli Lilly have used the space station to research medications.
Next up for the Russians is the return of three station crew members aboard the Soyuz MS-06/52S spacecraft February 27, bringing outgoing station commander Alexander Misurkin and two NASA astronauts, Mark Vande Hei and Joseph Acaba, back to a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan to close out a 166-day stay in space.
Now, the Trump administration wants to push that public-private partnership even further to encourage "the emergence of an environment in (low-Earth orbit) where NASA is one of many customers of a non-governmental human space flight managed and operated enterprise, while providing a smooth and uninterrupted transition", the document said. Assembly began in 1998 and the station has been continuously staffed by rotating astronaut-cosmonaut crews since October 2000.
The space station is scheduled to operate through 2024.
"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", Sen. "We have invested massively in the ISS".
Cruz said that as long as he is chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee, "the ISS will continue to have strong and bipartisan support in the United States Congress".
"We're building capability for the eventual human exploration of deep space and the moon is a stepping stone", NASA's acting chief financial officer Andrew Hunter said in a Monday news conference.
What to do with the orbiting station has been a huge question within the US government for years.
It was an historic day here in Huntsville as the Marshall Space Flight Center hosted the State of NASA Address.
The engineers and scientists associated with WFIRST have to now wait for Congress to deal with its own budget proposals for the 2019 fiscal year in the next few months and hope that lawmakers have a better deal lined up for the future of the mission than the president has.