Space Policy 101 For Clinton and Trump

President Obama penned anop-edthis week encouraging America to renew its commitment to space exploration. 68% of us hold afavorable view of NASAand our space agency is consistently ranked as thebest place to workin the federal government. A

President Obama penned an op-ed this week encouraging America to renew its commitment to space exploration. 68% of us hold a favorable view of NASA and our space agency is consistently ranked as the best place to work in the federal government. Americans are excited by the accomplishments of  entrepreneurial firms like SpaceX, Blue Origin andVirgin Galactic. So, you might think that our presidential hopefuls would share the voter’s interest . . .  but you’d be sadly mistaken.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump rarely comment on space and neither has offered a coherent space policy. When Aerospace America asked the candidates about space policy this spring Clinton did not respond at all and Trump’s responses were poorly informed. In September, Scientific American queried the pair on science and graded Trump 1/5 and Clinton 2/5 on their space savvy. Last week, SpaceNews presented nine good questions to the candidates. Clinton was vaguely supportive with feel-good statements like, “I even wrote to NASA to ask how I could become an astronaut.” Trump’s responses indicated a real lack of interest. When asked for “Any other comments” all the normally over-talkative GOP candidate could think of was, “No.” Seriously, “No.”

It would be easy to chuckle at this vacuousness if space policy wasn’t critical to our economic growth, national defense and global prestige. Alarmed at the prospect of either of these candidates running our space programs, I offer a bold and simple space policy statement.


Proposed Space Policy

America’s accomplishments in space symbolize the success of our educational system, the peaceful nature of our democratic government and the productive power of our market economy. The world still stands in awe at our moon landings, robotic exploration of the solar system and construction of the International Space Station. Our investment in space technology and infrastructure has produced multi-fold economic returns, heightened our national security and benefited everyone on Earth.