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Vision for space exploration

Space Exploration / August 10, 2016

The Trump administration is seriously considering a major new initiative to privatize much of the space sector, promote a return to the moon by 2020, and aim for Mars and other Solar System targets soon thereafter. This, according to’s Bryan Bender, citing Trump administration internal documents obtained by Politico.

The central aim of the administration’s new policy under consideration will be the “large-scale economic development of space, ” and it will entail such revolutionary moves as fully privatizing lower-earth orbit, allowing for the mass deployment of private space stations, and freeing up NASA to return to cutting-edge research in new realms like manned exploration of interplanetary space.

As with all else that President Trump has tried to do, however, this new initiative is already meeting institutional resistance, particularly among the proponents of what Trump administration insiders are terming “Old Space": mammoth corporations such as Boeing and Lockheed-Martin that have always enjoyed preferential access to space-related R&D grants and government contracts. Against them are arrayed the force of “New Space": hungry young tech entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, whose respective space companies, Blue Origin and SpaceX, have made stunning advances in space technology, including the coveted ability to fly craft into space and return them — or stages of them — back to Earth for reuse, a technology NASA never managed to develop. The “Old Space” concerns and their Capitol Hill supporters — congressmen such as Senators Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who bitterly opposed the entry of upstart SpaceX into the exclusive club of space corporations allowed to do business with NASA — are likely to resist change of this sort, since it may entail the loss of jobs among Old Space mega-employers in their home states.