Tag: Joe Biden

What a Joe Biden Presidency May Mean in Orbit and Beyond

Article by Ian Whittaker and Gareth Dorrian                                 November 11, 2020                                       (theconversation.com)

• Donald Trump set bold goals for space exploration during his time in office – from crewed missions to the Moon and Mars to a Space Force. Joe Biden has pledged to sign Executive Orders that will undo most of the Trump administration’s work – in the same way that Trump undid most of Obama’s work. But Biden has been relatively quiet on space policy. So how is space exploration likely to change going forward?

• During the Trump administration, NASA committed to the return of astronauts to the Moon in 2024 under the Artemis program. This builds on the Constellation program which was implemented by Republican president George W Bush in 2005 but was subsequently cancelled by Democratic president Barack Obama due to its high cost and difficulty.

• In a document released by the Democratic Party entitled “Building a Stronger, Fairer Economy”, the Democrats “support NASA’s work to return Americans to the Moon and go beyond to Mars, taking the next step in exploring our solar system.” Canada, the European Space Agency and Japan are all formal partners in the construction of the Lunar Gateway – a lunar orbiting outpost designed to support multiple expeditions to the Moon’s surface. It would be difficult for a Biden administration to unilaterally withdraw from the project.

• The Trump administration also pushed for a first crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s. An independent report by the Science and Technology Policy Institute in 2019 stated that a crewed Mars mission in the 2030s is currently unfeasible. It is unlikely Biden will try to resurrect this any time soon, especially since confronting the COVID-19 pandemic will likely drain discretionary funding.

• Viewing space as a potential war zone, the Trump administration formed Space Force. With a public approval rating of only 31%, Americans aren’t too impressed with the Space Force. But there are doubtlessly many difficulties of reintegrating Space Force back into the US Air Force. It is therefore likely that Space Force will remain in a Biden administration, possibly with reduced focus.

• US human spaceflight policy rarely survives a change in a Presidential administration. NASA’s chief, Jim Bridenstine, appointed by Trump, has already announced he is stepping down, saying that he wanted to let somebody with a “close relationship with the president” take over. Still, the success of the crewed SpaceX launch to the International Space Station means the commercial crew program is likely to keep running – taking the burden off NASA.

• Biden has made it clear that tackling climate emergency is a priority. While this is likely to be focused on industrial pollution limits and renewable energy sources, it does suggest that space policy could be more focused on Earth environmental observation satellite missions such as oil spills, deforestation and carbon emissions.

• Changes notwithstanding, many scientists will breath a sigh of relief at the prospect of not having to fight the kind of anti-science position that we have seen from Trump during his time in office.

 

Donald Trump set bold goals for space exploration during his time in office – from crewed missions to the Moon and Mars to a Space Force. By contrast, his successor Joe Biden has been relatively quiet on space policy. So how is space exploration likely to change going forward?

It is clear is that there will be change. NASA’s current chief, Jim Bridenstine, has already announced he is stepping down. And we know that US human spaceflight policy rarely survives a change in presidency.

That said, the amazing success of the crewed SpaceX launch to the International Space Station (ISS), however, means the commercial crew programme is likely to keep running – taking the burden off NASA. Indeed, the first operational flight of the Crew Dragon by commercial company SpaceX is due for launch on November 15, with four astronauts bound for the ISS.

During the Trump administration, NASA also committed to the return of astronauts to the Moon in 2024 under the Artemis program. This is due for its first test launch (uncrewed) next year with Artemis-1. This builds on the Constellation program which was implemented by Republican president George W Bush in 2005 but was subsequently cancelled by Democratic president Barack Obama due to its high cost and difficulty.

The only substantial clue as to the direction of a Biden presidency with regard to astronaut flights to the Moon can be found in a document by the Democratic Party entitled “Building a Stronger, Fairer Economy”. In one paragraph, the Democrats state that they “support NASA’s work to return Americans to the Moon and go beyond to Mars, taking the next step in exploring our solar system.”

No detail is offered on possible timelines. But, with international cooperation now a major feature of the Artemis program, it would be difficult for a fledgling Biden administration to unilaterally withdraw from the project. For example, Canada, the European Space Agency and Japan are all formal partners in the construction of the Lunar Gateway – a lunar orbiting outpost designed to support multiple expeditions to the surface.

The programme is also rapidly advancing research, particularly in terms of building materials, power supplies and food production. Just this week, the European Space Agency awarded a contract to the British company Metalysis to develop techniques to simultaneously extract oxygen and metals from lunar soil.

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Biden Not Seen as a Threat to Space Force

Article by Sandra Erwin                                 November 9, 2020                                 (spacenews.com)

• President-elect Joe Biden has said he plans to reverse a number of Trump policies but he is expected to continue to support the US Space Force. “If Space Force did not already exist, I think Joe Biden probably would not create it. However I think it’s pretty unlikely that Biden would seriously try to eliminate Space Force at this point,” said David Burbach, associate professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College. Burbach’s views are his own and he does not speak for the government.

• The Space Force is enshrined in Title 10 of the U.S. Code as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed services so any move to dismantle it would require congressional legislation. And the Republicans are poised to control the Senate. “No way the Republican Senate would go along with undoing that accomplishment for Trump,” said Burbach. “Things get institutionalized pretty quickly in Washington,” Burbach said. “I think it would be very difficult to roll back Space Force. We now have officers and enlisted personnel in the Space Force even if they haven’t figured out what to call them.”

• Burbach noted that there is broad consensus in Washington that space is a “contested domain.” Many Democrats agree that the Pentagon needed to do more to address threats to US space assets. “Space Force is not the solution that Democrats would have preferred but given that it’s been done, I think the focus will be on trying to make it work effectively.”

• Joshua Huminski, director of the Mike Rogers Center for Intelligence and Global Affairs’ National Security Space Program, said it is too early to tell how President Biden will view Space Force. “I think the important thing to consider is that the intellectual foundation of the Space Force existed well before President Trump — the need for a separate culture, space as a warfighting domain, and the threat from Russia and China on orbit. That foundation, those needs, and the mission and threat will continue on and perhaps accelerate into President Biden’s administration, so you may see more constancy than immediate change.” “President Biden can set the tone, for sure,” says Huminski. “But Congress will ultimately have the final say.”

 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force was a signature initiative of the Trump administration. President-elect Joe Biden has said he plans to reverse a number of Trump policies but he is expected to continue to support the U.S. Space Force, experts told SpaceNews.

             David Burbach

“If Space Force did not already exist, I think Joe Biden probably would not create it. However I think it’s pretty

                       Joshua Huminski

unlikely that Biden would seriously try to eliminate Space Force at this point,” said David Burbach, associate professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College.

Burbach said his views are his own and he does not speak for the government.

The Space Force is enshrined in Title 10 of the U.S. Code as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed services so any move to dismantle it would require congressional legislation.

With Republicans poised to control the Senate, that would be a non-starter, Burbach said. “No way the Republican Senate would go along with undoing that accomplishment for Trump.”

Burbach said the Space Force would not be targeted even if Democrats gained control of the Senate. “Things get institutionalized pretty quickly in Washington,” he said. “I think it would be very difficult to roll back Space Force. We now have officers and enlisted personnel in the Space Force even if they haven’t figured out what to call them.”

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Speculation That Donald Trump Will Declassify UFO Files

Article by Tyler MacDonald                                 November 7, 2020                                 (inquisitr.com)

• In the wake of media outlets calling the 2020 presidential election for Democrat Joe Biden, and since Donald Trump appears on track to be leaving the White House in January, many are pointing to the possibility that the president will declassify intelligence files on many mysterious issues, including UFOs.

• “Trump is still POTUS (until January 20th). He can release any information he wants via Twitter. Literally it’s legal for him to drop anything – UFO files, Russia stuff, total discretion,” tweeted conservative commentator Mike Cernovich.

• Trump has touched on the topic of UFOs on multiple occasions. He spoke about the Roswell UFOs during a Father’s Day interview with his son, Don Jr. “I won’t talk to you about what I know about it, but it’s very interesting,” the president said.

• During an October interview on Fox News, Maria Bartiromo pressed Trump on the existence of UFOs. Trump suggested that he would harness the U.S. military to examine the existence of extraterrestrial life. But in an interview with George Stephanopoulos in June of 2019, Trump acknowledged Navy pilot UFO sightings but did not appear convinced.

• Last month, Tucker Carlson claimed that there is a wealth of evidence that proves the existence of UFOs – including former Senator Harry Reid’s claim that UFOs have been interfering with American nuclear capabilities throughout history, and Christopher Mellon touting the research of Dr. Jacque Vallee, who collected metal debris from a UFO.

• In April, the Pentagon declassified three UFO videos that were captured by U.S. Navy infrared cameras and first released unofficially in December of 2017 and March of 2018.

 

       Mike Cernovich

Now that Donald Trump appears on track to be leaving the White House in January, many are pointing to the possibility

          Maria Bartiromo

that the president will declassify intelligence files on many mysterious issues, including UFOs.

“Trump is still POTUS. He can release any information he wants via Twitter. Literally it’s legal for him to drop anything – UFO files, Russia stuff, total discretion,” tweeted conservative commentator Mike Cernovich.

The possibility appears to be on the minds of many people in the wake of various media outlets calling the 2020 presidential election for Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump has touched on the topic of UFOs on multiple occasions. As reported by ABC News, he spoke about Roswell during a Father’s Day-themed interview with his son,

  George Stephanopoulos

who pressed him on the New Mexico city that is known for its proximity to one of the most famous UFO events in

           Tucker Carlson

popular culture.

“I won’t talk to you about what I know about it, but it’s very interesting,” the president said of the region.

Trump was also pressed on the existence of UFOs during an October interview with Mario Bartiromo on Fox News, Insider reported.

Trump pointed to the U.S. military and suggested that he would harness it to examine the existence of extraterrestrial life.

Elsewhere, Trump has been skeptical. During an interview with George Stephanopoulos in June of 2019, he pointed to pilot sightings but did not appear convinced.

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