Washington/Seattle (Reuters)-The differences between US President Donald Trump and rival presidential candidate Joe Biden extend far beyond the planet.
President Trump’s plan to win the space race calls for a mission to the moon in 2024 and the termination of direct US financial support for the International Space Station in 2025-handing over control of this decades-old orbital laboratory to private individuals Space company.
People familiar with the matter said that, on the other hand, if Biden wins the White House, Biden may request the postponement of the moon landing plan and propose an extension of funding for the International Space Station.
The postponement of missions to the moon may raise more questions about the long-term fate of Boeing’s Space Launch System (SLS) rockets, like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos (Jeff Bezos). ) Blue Origin is competing to bring rival rockets to the market next year.
Extending support for the space station for another decade will also have a major boost for Boeing. Boeing’s annual $225 million International Space Station (ISS) operating contract is scheduled to expire in 2024, and it is in the abyss of the financial crisis caused by the COVID-1
Boeing and SpaceX have already delivered spacecraft to astronauts under a plan jointly supported by Trump and Biden under the leadership of the Obama administration.
Although slowing down the moon’s firing speed will delay the company’s winning of contracts for lunar landers and related equipment, the emerging Biden space agenda appears to be largely aimed at promoting traditional defense contractors (such as Boeing) and “new space”. “Competition between competitors (such as SpaceX), which promises to reduce costs and reusable rocket systems and space vehicles.
Mike French, vice chairman of the trade group of the Aerospace Industries Association, said that for the commercial aerospace industry, “consistency is the key”, and he served as NASA’s chief of staff during Obama’s tenure.
“If you shake the sketch now, you will risk a series of potential historic achievements and the strong and sustained bipartisan support that NASA has in its entire product portfolio,” the Frenchman told Reuters.
Approximately 20 former NASA senior officials and scientists under the Biden Sports Science Committee came together as a group of volunteers to informally help come up with ideas about space platforms.
Many have served in the Obama administration and are fighting for influential roles in the transition team or the Biden administration.
Reuters talked to three of them, as well as more than a dozen lobbyists, industry executives, and former officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and they had their own discussions with Biden’s campaign.
The team members also hope to increase NASA funding for earth sciences and support partnerships with other countries. They emphasized that Biden’s space agenda and the distribution of personnel leading it are in the formative stage, because Biden’s campaign puts more pressing issues first, such as the coronavirus pandemic and unemployment.
A spokesperson for Biden’s campaign pointed to Biden’s previous remarks. In August, after SpaceX launched during its nearly ten-year ISS trip and returned the first astronauts from American soil to the United States, Biden said that he looks forward to “leading a bold space program that will continue to send astronauts.” Hero to expand our exploration and scientific exploration of the frontier.”
Representatives of Blue Origin and Boeing declined to comment. SpaceX and the Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Beat Boeing Rockets
Several sources said, but Biden Space Group is divided on how to deal with Boeing SLS.
This super-heavy rocket was plagued by development delays and cost overruns, but it supports thousands of jobs in Alabama and California, and is regarded by its supporters as the core of NASA’s exploration program and also leads to Trump The only way to the 2024 Artemis mission schedule.
Critics say the ageing technology of the rocket and the launch cost of $1 billion or more per mission should prompt the White House or Congress to conduct a formal review of the plan, especially if SpaceX and Blue Origin can provide new rockets at a lower cost. under.
The cost of flying Musk’s large and underpowered Falcon heavy aircraft is only $90 million, while the cost of each launch of the Delta IV Heavy, which is left by the United Launch Alliance, is about $350 million.
The two said that whether Biden’s space policy is a more friendly business choice for SLS or “new space” players, it will be severely affected by his choice of NASA administrators. The campaign hopes to be held by a woman. This is what two people said.
Doug Loverro, the former head of human space flight at NASA, said that NASA sees SLS as the only human mission to the moon in the short term.
“But is this a long-term direction to continue to pursue?” Lovero asked.
Reporting by Joey Roulette in Washington, DC and Eric M Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Edward Tobin