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U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson came out swinging Monday against President Trump’s proposed NASA budget and plan to turn over the International Space Station to private hands.“The administration’s budget for NASA is a nonstarter,’’ said Nelson, D-Orlando, in a statement. “If we’re ever going to get to Mars with humans on board and return them safely, then we need a larger funding increase for NASA.

“The proposal would also end support for the International Space Station in 2025 and make deep cuts to popular education and science programs,’’ continued Nelson, a former astronaut who flew during the space shuttle era. “Turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space at a time when we’re pushing the frontiers of exploration makes no sense.”

Trump’s budget outline, which many in Congress consider to be a nonstarter, calls for $19.6 billion for NASA next year, an increase of $500 million from this year.A story in the Washington Post said the White House plans to stop funding the station after 2024, ending direct federal support of the orbiting laboratory.

But it does not intend to abandon the orbiting laboratory altogether and is working on a transition plan that could turn the station over to the private sector, according to an internal NASA document obtained by the Post.