Biden Administration Halts Space Exploration

We knew Biden would concede to our adversaries. His alliance with China works no other way.

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It Was “One Small Step”…51 Years Ago.

On July 20, 1969 one of mankind’s greatest accomplishments occurred when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon, where Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin became the first humans to stand on a foreign celestial body.

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In December 1972 Gene Cernan stepped off the Moon after Apollo 17 departed, and no one ever returned.

For the next half-century it had been the crowning jewel in American ‘can-do’ ingenuity.  Actor Neal McDonough alluded to it in a 2014 Cadillac commercial:

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Reaching Beyond.

There would be other achievements for the United States in Space, albeit through unmanned missions:

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Nevertheless, during this time America continued the science of manned-explorations of Space, though remaining closer to Earth:
    • Skylab, the first orbiting space station, proved humans could live and work in space for extended periods, and expanded our knowledge of solar astronomy beyond Earth-based observations.
    • The Shuttle Program, another enduring achievement, was the workhorse for three decades of America’s progression into Space.
    • The American-backed International Space Station continues where Skylab, and the Russian space station Mir, left off.
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Sudden Full Stop.

Then in 2010, then-President Obama cancelled most upcoming major NASA projects and ended the Shuttle program.

The Hill wrote at the time:

The government’s response was formulated in secret. The results of these private deliberations rolled out in the 2011 budget request that was released in February 2010. Project Constellation would be canceled, root and branch. Instead, NASA would conduct studies of heavy-lift rockets, deep-space propulsion, and other technologies that it was said, in the fullness of time, would make exploring space cheaper and easier.

Of course, Obama was no more interested in exploring space than he was before. The Journey to Mars, as NASA eventually called it, was set so far into the future, the mid-2030s, as to be meaningless. Mars was the bright, shiny object to distract people from the vacuous nature of Obama’s space policy.

Likewise, renowned lunar commanders Armstrong, Cernan, and Apollo 13’s Jim Lovell expressed their criticisms about Obama’s indifference:

When President Obama recently released his budget for NASA, he proposed a slight increase in total funding, substantial research and technology development, an extension of the International Space Station operation until 2020, long range planning for a new but undefined heavy lift rocket and significant funding for the development of commercial access to low earth orbit.

Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity. America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space. If it does, we should institute a program, which will give us the very best chance of achieving that goal.

Thus for most of the decade American astronauts were hitching a ride with the Russians into order to get into space.  Obama grounded NASA.

Space Exploration Privatized.

Over the last decade as the US government backed away, private sector industries have stepped up to fill America’s space travel void.  Las Vegas business mogul Robert Bigelow has long believed the further exploration of space will not be done by global superpowers, but by private corporate business interests.

Lockheed-Martin has for decades ran a clandestine advanced research division affectionately known as ‘Skunk Works’.  Elon Musk has twice successfully launched a private space capsule to the International Space Station, and returned it to Earth.

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Richard Branson is seeking to create an entire ‘space tourism’ industry.  Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has also ‘launched’ his own ambitions for the final frontiers.

The Wall Street Journal observed:

Within the next few years, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and a number of other lesser-known adventurers are hoping to start sending tourists into space.

Aspiring astronauts be forewarned: It’s mostly the super wealthy who’d be able to afford a trip into space, at least at first. For a stay of several weeks or even months, prospective tourists should expect to spend $50 million or more. A shorter experience—a few minutes of weightlessness—might set you back less than $1 million.

MAGA Gives A ‘Boost’.

During his administration, President Trump sought to reignite the same furor for 21st century space exploration that had existed during the Cold War-era Space Race.

MIT’s Technology Review lauded Trump’s efforts:

Even before Trump moved into the White House, his campaign and some of his policy advisors in the space community dropped hints that the administration would take a big interest in the direction of the space program.

Sure enough, there were some major changes. Many of these new policies had their origins before Trump. But the administration accelerated things to a speed the program has not moved at in decades.

He has had an outsize impact on the space program.

Influence like that continues to be felt regardless of who occupies the Oval Office.

In December 2017 President Trump signed a directive greenlighting the Artemis Program for crewed lunar exploration. Artemis would have returned astronauts to the Moon in 2024 to begin establishing a permanent moonbase.  The lunar base would then serve as a jumping point for missions to Mars and beyond beginning in the 2030s.

One of Trump’s overall lasting impacts arguably would be the creation of the US Space Force.  With China’s aggressive ambitions and Russia weaponizing Earth’s orbit, the former President created an entirely new branch of the US Military.

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As the US Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy, the Space Force would be housed in the Department of the Air Force.  The Space Force’s mission would be:

The USSF is a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force. USSF responsibilities include developing Guardians, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.

American University explains further:

The U.S. Space Force is a direct descendant of the Air Force Space Command established in 1982.  That command sought to expand America’s advantage in space during the Cold War, primarily through the launch of advanced military satellites.

The primary mission of the U.S. Space Force as directed by Congress is to maintain, protect, and expand the U.S. fleet of advanced military satellites that form the backbone of U.S. global military operations.  The importance of satellites to the modern U.S. military can hardly be overstated.

The Space Force will act as a conduit for space-based intelligence and technology to reach the rest of the military. for instance, by making sure that battlefield commanders have real-time access to satellite reconnaissance.  The Space Force [emerged as] much more than a maintenance unit however, as multiple threats have emerged in recent years that require a substantial updating of American space presence.

America war retaking its first steps back into The Final Frontier.  Or had it?

Biden Backs Down

After November 2020 a new administration was elected with a different vision that is much more ‘terrestrial’.

The new Biden Administration signed an executive order last month cancelling all further private space exploration. Thus, leaving the US government through NASA as the only official active American space program.

The Washington Times explains:

Sadly, the visionary goal of getting Americans to Mars first came crashing down when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which, under the Trump administration had allowed for SpaceX to conduct their important test flights, ordered Mr. Musk to cancel the Starship prototype test.

It’s likely that the FAA’s decision to cancel the launch is part of a wider Biden administration effort undo the Trump administration’s vibrant space policy. Plus, former President Trump’s space vision explicitly aimed at countering advances made by China in space. It is unlikely that the Biden administration seeks to continue that policy, as the Biden team attempts to stabilize deteriorating relations with Beijing over the next few years.

The Biden administration’s decision to increase regulations on the private space launch services sector and slow down their operations, as evidenced by the recent Starship launch cancellation, will only help China in its ongoing mission to defeat America in the new space race.

It’s not just SpaceX that has been affected. Elon Musk hired AMERICANS, thus prompting investigation. Virgin Galactic took a huge financial hit after the announced delays to their interplanetary ambitions.  Even the Artemis Program and Mars One were all scrapped!

And the Space Force is getting tacit lip service at best.

America’s Moonshot sequel was shotdown over politics and TDS.

Meanwhile, China and Russia are full speed ahead to infinity, and beyond.

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