The Biden administration continues the path set by the Trump administration when it comes to space, at least for now.
why does it matter: Administrations often abandon the goals of their predecessors in favor of new ones when they come to power. This kind of “knockdown” could leave NASA stuck to the ground because it requires consistency between departments to achieve major exploration goals.
News Lead: Earlier this month, the Biden administration She confirmed her plans To continue Artemis’ program to land the first woman and next man on the moon.
- Administration too Threw its weight Behind the space force, White House Press Secretary Jane Psaki said the new military branch has “the full support of the Biden administration”.
- “I am very proud of the Biden administration for their commitment to these very important measures,” Jim Bridenstein, NASA director of the Trump administration told me. “My goal from day one was to create a sustainable program that could move from one department to another.”
- The Biden administration also reaffirmed the importance of climate change research at NASA, appointing Gavin Schmidt as the agency’s chargé d’affaires. Senior Climate AdvisorA new role is expected to help lead climate research at NASA.
Yes, but: While some political appointments have been made at NASA, the administration has not yet made a nomination for a NASA administrator, a key position that would lead the space agency’s path.
- Artemis’ first mission was expected to transport people to the surface of the Moon by 2024, but that seems less likely now, and some recommend that the landing date be reset for safety and funding reasons.
- Experts also question how space policy and space-focused directives will be managed under this administration, due to the possible dissolution of the National Space Council.
Between the lines: So far, many of Biden’s moments in space news have been due to press questions, not remarks from the administration that are moving the news itself.
- Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told me, unlike the Trump administration, they “didn’t care much about space.” “This wasn’t part of the campaign, and it’s clearly not something that they took their time to get really pushed through.”
what do you want to watch: Although the space looks on Biden’s radar now, the real test will be how much funding he suggests in the administration’s budget.
- “You could say all the great words in the world about Artemis,” Casey Dreer of the Planetary Society told me. “You can say all the cool things you want about NASA, but when it comes to it, NASA needs the resources to succeed.”