July 26, 2021

President Biden’s Space challenges: Concerns over the next four years

There’s already a lot we don’t understand about where he as well as his vice president, Kamala Harris, are on big issues in the civil as well as national security room as Joe Biden starts the first year of his administration. Biden’s initial plan is sure to be motivated by the epidemic and economic growth. Nevertheless, there are some key space challenges that the current administration will have to fix. It is now doubtful that NASA’s Artemis mission will achieve its 2024 human landing target, providing the administration the chance to rethink the program while strengthening the agency’s Earth science work.

The growing satellite and debris population could cause the administration to reevaluate the Trump administration’s strategy to the control of civil space traffic. The Space Force is going to continue maturing, but it faces rising suffering. The Pentagon also will finish projects begun under the Trump regime, from the new launch vehicles to the LEO constellations.

Artemis’s future

During the first half of Trump’s presidency, a new strategy could look more like what NASA was contemplating: it concentrated on first creating the lunar Gateway, accompanied by human lunar landings about 2028. NASA has managed to enter into negotiations with Europe, Canada, and Japan on Gateway parts, so the Biden presidency could be geopolitically expensive with larger revisions to human spaceflight proposals, which do away with Gateway. NASA will quickly have to make choices about Artemis’ future, maybe before a new administrator’s appointment. Blue Origin, Dynetics as well as SpaceX, the three firms that earned HLS deals last year, are waiting on NASA Agency to pick who will continue to full development.

The agency had previously announced that it would make decisions during the spring, but those preparations could be changed by both the restricted funds and the leadership shift. Around the same time, as part of a larger focus on climate change, the Biden presidency is generally expected to invest more resources into the NASA’s Earth science programs. The party agenda called for “enhancing” the missions of NASA and NOAA Earth exploration “to understand better how our home planet is affected by climate change.”

Regulation of traffic in space

Although the new administration has given no clues to its thoughts on the issue, there is nothing that will deter it from switching civil STM to FAA or enabling the Department of Commerce to handle the space traffic, making it possible for the White House to alter its position. With the increasing amount of debris in space, along with the advent of mega-constellations such as Starlink, many expect the government to push on as soon as possible. Chris Kunstadter, who serves as the Global Head of Space for the AXA XL Insurance, stated, “In the end, it does not really matter who is doing it; it just gets accomplished.”

How much priority Commerce provides to Civil STM would be another issue. Biden’s candidate for Commerce Secretary, Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, has not in any way been interested in space or demonstrated an interest in the issue. The same was accurate, though, for Trump’s candidate, Wilbur Ross, the financier, who never participated in the launch before the year 2018. Yet, like STM, he became a vocal spokesperson for the department’s efforts on space.