If you were a kid during the early years of the “space race,” you no doubt counted the astronauts among your heroes. No matter what your political leanings, you were inspired by President Kennedy’s challenge to the nation to “commit itself to achieving the goal,” before the decade was out, “of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” When President Trump announced the creation of the U.S. Space Force, he reinvigorated America’s youthful enthusiasm for space exploration. Now that we have a Biden administration that appears to be a rehash of the defense-killing Obama years, is the future of the Space Force in jeopardy?
Leftist fringe groups, including the likes of Code Pink and Greenpeace, have already encouraged the new administration to ax the Space Force, claiming it focuses on “militarization.” It’s no secret that America’s early ventures into space were propelled by our goal to beat the Soviet Union in space domination. In fact, most of the early astronauts were military veterans and were as equally concerned, or more so, with military superiority over the Soviet Union as they were with the scientific potential of space travel.
Acknowledging the importance of space in maintaining America’s military dominance, President Trump stated, “Space is the world’s newest war-fighting domain. Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital.”
The fact that President Obama placed a low priority on the military in general and NASA in particular is well documented. From Obama, President Trump inherited a Navy and an Air Force that were historically small and an Army that was the smallest it had been since World War II. Obama’s attitude toward NASA was equally disdainful. He cancelled the George W. Bush creation Project Constellation, a program that called for astronauts to return to the moon and beyond. Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan and Jim Lovell openly criticized Obama’s move, to which the President responded that Americans would shoot for Mars within the next 30 years. What? As Mark R. Whittington wrote in The Hill, Obama’s “Journey to Mars was the ObamaCare of space exploration — expensive, unsustainable and not designed to do what it [was] alleged to do” (https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/technology/322918-how-barack-obama-ruined-nasa-space-exploration.)
With the Biden Administration as a virtual Obama third term, can we expect any change of attitude? Considering the creation of the Space Force was one of President Trump’s many achievements, shouldn’t we expect Biden to erase another one of his policies? Need we look any further than the copious number of executive orders that Biden has issued in just his first couple weeks in the White House? To top it off, White House Press Secretary and Obama retread Jen Psaki’s mocking the branch of service at a recent news briefing with her derogatory comment, “Wow. Space Force. It’s the plane of today” indicates the Biden Administration’s continued utter contempt for all things Trump.
This time of the year is infamous for American space program disasters. Every year, NASA holds a Day of Remembrance to honor the astronauts who lost their lives in the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia tragedies. The Space Force is one way the memories of these heroic astronauts can be preserved. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy in itself if the Space Force would go the way of Project Constellation? That’s a likely possibility, considering the Democratic Party is not what is was 60 years ago and that Joe Biden certainly is no JFK.