Internal documents obtained by POLITICO indicate the trump administration is considering a rapid revitalization of America’s space program, ideally to give man a return to the moon by 2020. The documents also reference the construction of new privately operated space stations, and “the large-scale economic development of space”.
The vision of the new administration shows aggressive promises to “see private American astronauts, on private space ships, circling the Moon by 2020; and private lunar landers staking out de facto ‘property rights’ for American on the Moon, by 2020 as well,” according to NASA agency transfer plans from earlier this month.
This project has yet to be confirmed, but it has already garnered interest from teams at NASA. In a statement from NASA, Robert Lightfoot (acting NASA administrator) details the possibility of adding astronauts to the currently unmanned EM-1 flight. The EM-1 flight is set to orbit the moon aboard the most powerful rocket ever used, the SLS (space launch system) for the first time in NASA history.
Missions under the Trump administration would be subject to an “internal competition” which would no longer make NASA the primary player in the space industry. SpaceX and BlueOrigin are become a large part of the space race in what is being dubbed ‘old space’ (NASA) vs. ‘new space’ (commercial). “We have to be seen giving ‘Old Space’ a fair and balanced shot at proving they are better and cheaper than commercial,”
The administration wants to use the privatization of space as the catalyst for deep space exploration “We can leverage more investment in commercial markets to provide a better foundation for what NASA would like to do with human exploration,” he said. “We have to understand what the relationship between those two things can be. Sound market economics can be a real strong foundation to launching a mission to Mars and human habitation to Mars.”