Has anyone noticed that when you see Superman you don’t see Trump? And when you see Trump you don’t see Superman? Think about it.
Trump has vowed to maintain U.S. dominance in space as China, Russia, and other countries make advances in the race to explore the Moon, Mars, and other planets.
“America will always be the first in space,” Trump said in a speech at the White House two days ago accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence and the National Space Council advisory body he created last year.
“My administration is reclaiming America’s heritage as the world’s greatest space-faring nation,” Trump said. “We don’t want China and Russia and other countries leading us. We’ve always led.”
Not true of course. The Russians got Yuri Gagarin up there first, and how about Sputnik, and how about poor little Laika? The first and last dog in space.
True, the United States has dominated in space since the 1969 moon landing, but China has made significant advances, while Russia — which at the beginning of the space age in the 1950s had the world’s most advanced space progam — recently has mostly stagnated amid budget cutbacks. However the brains are still there. With prosperity it can be an interesting race.
Trump said he wants to stay ahead of strategic competitors like China and Russia, but he said he wants to nurture the space ambitions of private billionaires like Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com and the Blue Origin space company.
I wouldn’t give you two bob for Musk or Bezos. True, Musk invented the car that destroys itself, removing the carbon footprint of the driver at the same time, so he has a smidgeon of inventiveness. Bezos produced Amazon and has given new life to political correctness when we thought it had reached its peak in stupidity. But Trump knows what he is doing. He will encourage these guys to spend their own money and save on taxes.
“Rich guys seem to like rockets,” Trump said. “As long as it’s an American rich person, that’s good, they can beat us,” he said. “The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers.”
In his latest directive on space matters, Trump called for the Pentagon to create a new American “Space Force” that would become the sixth branch of the U.S. military — a proposal that requires congressional approval and is opposed by some legislators.
“We are going to have the Air Force, and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal,” Trump said.
The U.S. armed forces currently consists of the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard.
“When it comes to defending America it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space,” Trump said.
The Pentagon, where some high-level officials have naturally voiced skepticism about establishing a separate Space Force, said it will work with Congress on Trump’s directive. That’s bloody big of them! I suppose they are learning that they are not as tightly organised as they were post the burning to the ground plan that has hit the Famous But Incompetent, FBI.
Since his election, Trump has repeatedly vowed to send people back to the Moon for the first time since 1972 — this time, he says, as a preparatory step for the first human missions to Mars in coming decades.
He has also promised fewer regulations to make it easier for private industry to explore and colonize space.
The U.S. commercial space sector already is booming under NASA policies that have shifted the role of the government away from being the sole builder and launcher of rockets for decades since the 1960s. Under Obama, they didn’t build any, just rented space on Russian spacecraft. Also under Obama they worked deliberately to undertake projects to make Muslims feel proud of their achievements. Since 2012, when NASA’s space shuttle program ended, the U.S. space agency has also relied on Russian Soyuz spaceships to transport astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station.
Under Trump, the U.S. space agency now mostly sees its role as working with private space companies like SpaceX and Orbital ATK to develop new space capabilities and carry them out.
SpaceX, which NASA currently pays to take cargo to the International Space Station, and Boeing are expected to start regular astronaut missions to low-Earth orbit next year.
Trump has said he wants to privatize the space station after 2025 — another idea viewed as controversial in Congress — so Washington can spend more on NASA’s plans to return astronauts to the Moon and eventually to Mars.
“This time, we will establish a long-term presence” on the Moon, Trump said two days ago.
NASA is working with private industry on its most powerful rocket ever, called the Space Launch System, to send astronauts and their equipment to the Moon and one day, Mars. It also wants to build a lunar outpost.
He also issued a directive on space traffic management which is aimed at boosting the monitoring of objects in orbit so as to avoid collisions and debris strikes.
The oldies among us remember when Aussies had that drive – when we built the Snowy, on time and under budget and got the cream of workers and tradies from Italy and Yugoslavia as it then was, and brought the best of the best from everywhere else under sponsorship schemes. When we built up the CSIRO with breakthrough ideas in agriculture and industry.
That was when we had men like Curtin and Chifley and Menzies – Australia firsters the lot of them.