Goodbye Space Force? What Joe Biden’s presidency means for space exploration


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Donald Trump set bold goals for space exploration during his time in office – from crewed missions to the Moon and Mars to a Space Force. By contrast, his successor Joe Biden has been relatively quiet on space policy. So how is space exploration likely to change going forward?

It is clear is that there will be change. NASA’s current chief, Jim Bridenstine, has already announced he is stepping down. And we know that US human spaceflight policy rarely survives a change in the presidency.

That said, the amazing success of the crewed SpaceX launch to the International Space Station (ISS), however, means the commercial crew program is likely to keep running – taking the burden off NASA. Indeed, the first operational flight of the Crew Dragon by commercial company SpaceX is due for launch on November 14, with four astronauts bound for the ISS.

During the Trump administration, NASA also committed to the return of astronauts to the Moon in 2024 under the Artemis program. This is due for its first test launch (uncrewed) next year with Artemis-1. This builds on the Constellation program which was implemented by Republican president George W Bush in 2005 but was subsequently canceled by Democratic president Barack Obama due to its high cost and difficulty.