US President Donald Trump’s rival presidential candidate Joe Biden extends far beyond planet Earth.
President Trump planned to win the race in the space call for the 2024 moon mission, and in 2025 ended direct US financial support for the International Space Station – handing control of the decades-old orbital laboratory to private space companies.
Biden, on the other hand, will likely call for a delayed moonlight and, according to people familiar with the runaway Biden space agenda, if he wins the White House, will propose funding expansion for the International Space Station.
Like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Original Scramble to bring rival rockets to market as soon as next year, more doubts over the long-term fate of Boeing Co’s Space Launch System (SLS) rockets than bringing back the Moon mission It is possible.
Expanding support for the space station for a decade will also be a major boost for Boeing, whose $ 225 million annual ISS operations contract is set to expire in 2024 and is at the depth of the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and 737 Max grounding after fatal accidents.
Boeing and SpaceX are already supplying the spacecraft from the ferry to astronauts for the ISS under a program launched under the Obama administration and supported by both Trump and Biden.
Although slowing the moon will return contracts for moon landers and related equipment aimed at winning companies, the emerging Biden Space agenda largely broadens competition between traditional defense contractors such as Boeing and competitors such as SpaceX Determined, which are low-cost and reusable rocket systems and space vehicles.
For the commercial space industry, “sustainability is key,” said Mike French, vice president of the Aerospace Industries Association business group, who previously served as NASA’s chief of staff under Obama.
“If you shake up the A-Sketch now, you will risk a series of potential historical achievements and the strong and sustained bipartisan support NASA has seen,” French told Reuters.
Roughly 20 former NASA senior executives and scientists have gathered as a volunteer subgroup under the Biden expedition’s science committee to informally help out ideas for a space platform.
Many work in the Obama administration and jockey for influential roles in the transition team or in a Biden administration.
Reuters spoke to three of those, as well as more than a dozen lobbyists, industry officials and former NASA officials, who have had their discussions with Biden’s campaign.
Members of the subgroup also want to promote NASA funding for Earth Sciences and support partnerships with other countries. He insisted that Biden’s space agenda, and staff work to lead it, was in an early stage because his campaign prioritized more pressing issues, such as the coronovirus epidemic and unemployment.
A Biden campaign spokesperson pointed to earlier comments from Biden. In August, after SpaceX launched and returned astronauts from the US Earth on a trip to the ISS in nearly a decade, Biden said he looked forward to “leading an adventure space program that will bring our exploration and scientists Will continue to send astronauts for expansion. ” Boundaries. “
Representatives from Blue Origin and Boeing declined to comment. SpaceX and the Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Fighting over rocket rocket
Several sources said that the Biden space group split over what to do about Boeing’s SLS.
The super heavy-lift rocket has suffered developmental delays and cost overruns, but supports thousands of jobs in Alabama and California and is the only one central to NASA’s exploration plans and Trump’s 2024 timeline for the Artemis mission. Is seen as a route. .
Critics say the rocket’s aging technology and launch costs of $ 1 billion or more per mission should indicate a formal White House or Congressional review of the program, especially if SpaceX and Blue Origin are looking for new rockets at lower cost Are able to offer.
It cost $ 90 million to fly Musk’s massive but still less powerful Falcon Heavy, and $ 350 million per launch for Delta IV Heavy, a legacy of the United Launch Alliance.
Whether a Biden space policy would be more favorable to the SLS or a “new space” would be heavily influenced by her choice for a NASA administrator for new commercial options, a role a woman wants to be filled, two people said.
NASA sees SLS as the only human-rated ride in the period near the moon, said Doug Lavaro, NASA’s former head of human spacecraft.
“But is that the direction to pursue for the long term?” Lavro asked.
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