Donald Trump in space. It may sound like wishful thinking for many of those in a particularly dark mood about the result of the election, but the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the Citizens for Space Exploration (CSE) are quite serious when they suggest that Trump put America on a road map to space. They've even drawn out directions for him.
As Space Flight Insider reported on Monday, the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (CDSE) has released "A Space Exploration Roadmap for the Next Administration," one that has been endorsed by both the AIA and the CSE. As CDSE Director Mary Lynne Dittmar explained to Space Flight Insider, "The endorsements of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the Citizens for Space Exploration (CSE) represent the spectrum of the aerospace industry and interested members of the public and demonstrate broad support for NASA’s deep space human and science exploration programs."
The paper provides seven general recommendations that the partners feel will help guide the United States to reclaim its position in aerospace endeavors, as quoted below:
- Develop and maintain close alignment between the new Administration and Congress on space policy, priorities, and funding levels, building on the bipartisan consensus reflected in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act and in the annual appropriations bills adopted over the last six fiscal years.
- Ensure robust and dependable U.S. access to deep space missions, including the near-term uncrewed test flight of the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft in 2018, and a 2021 test flight with a crew that will enable American astronauts to lead the way into deep space.
- Advance U.S. leadership and achievement in space science with the 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope and the Insight mission to Mars, funding for upcoming Mars and Europa planetary missions, and ongoing investment in missions across NASA’s science portfolio.
- Ensure use of the International Space Station as a technology test bed and cornerstone of NASA’s comprehensive plan for future deep space exploration.
- Focus new transportation services on supporting NASA’s low-Earth orbit activities and missions without sacrificing safety and mission assurance.
- Strengthen NASA’s effectiveness by streamlining its institutional footprint, bureaucracy, and procurement practices to ensure effective deployment of existing resources.
- Ensure development of new technologies and space capabilities which directly support science, exploration, and national security needs.
The CDSE acknowledges that the roadmap was written up in direct response to Trump's surprise election earlier this month. There have been strong indications that Trump could pursue an ambitious space agenda. As The New York Times reported on Monday, "two of President-elect Donald J. Trump's advisors have been pushing for a reboot of the mission of NASA, focusing more on exploration of extraterrestrial space and less on studying the one planet we know is inhabited by 7.35 billion people."