President Donald Trump’s legacy will go beyond his accomplishments as the 45th Commander-in-Chief who bettered the lives of Americans. The milestones he made in U.S. space exploration will no doubt last light-years after he leaves office.
Here are some examples of what Trump has done to advance the U.S. presence in space:
• In December, Vice President Mike Pence, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, introduced some of the 18 astronauts that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has chosen to be on the initial team for the early Artemis missions on and around the Moon.
Nine of the astronauts are women, and one of them will most likely be the first woman to step foot on the Moon.
•Breitbart News reported in July the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) would launch a rocket to Mars on a mission that will include deploying a rover, a helicopter, and collecting samples that scientists hope may show signs of life on the red planet.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at Wednesday’s briefing at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center:
I’m exceptionally excited about what we’re about to do because we’re going to launch Mars 2020 with the Perseverance robot. But there is so much more going on here. This is the first time in history where we’re going to Mars with an explicit mission to find life on another world — ancient life on Mars.
• During almost all of Barack Obama’s presidency, the United States space industry was outsourced to Russia. But President Donald Trump has made space exploration a priority of his administration, and for the first time in almost a decade, a space flight left from Florida on May 27.
“The date for the upcoming trip from U.S. soil to the International Space Station could change, but it will happen, NASA officials said, marking the first Florida launch since the final space shuttle flight in 2011,” Breitbart News reported.
“In 2026, we’re going to launch a mission from Earth to Mars to go pick up those samples and bring them back to Earth,” Bridenstine said. “For the first time in history, we’re doing a Mars sample return mission.”
The Washington Post reported on the development, including a public, private partnership that will make it happen:
This time, though, the launch will be markedly different from any other in the history of the space agency. Unlike Mercury, Gemini, Apollo or the space shuttle era, the rocket will be owned and operated not by NASA, but by a private company — SpaceX, the hard-charging commercial space company founded by Elon Musk.
For all the company’s triumphs, and its experience flying cargo to the International Space Station for NASA, it has never flown a single human being into space, a significant and dangerous challenge. NASA has spent years working with the California-based company to ensure its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft can safely deliver astronauts to orbit. And the flight would be the culmination of years of work, which has at times seen setbacks and delays.
With a successful launch, SpaceX would accomplish an upset over its rival, Boeing, which also is under contract to fly NASA crews to the space station as part of the agency’s “commercial crew program.” Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft suffered a series of significant setbacks during a test flight without astronauts in December that prevented it from docking with the station and prompted an investigation by NASA.
• As Breitbart News reported, in December Trump announced the name members of the Space Force would be called:
President Donald Trump’s newly created Space Force announced that personnel would be known as “Guardians.”
“The name Guardians connects our proud heritage and culture to the important mission we execute 24/7, protecting the people and interest of the U.S. and its allies,” the Space Force branch of the military announced.
The Space Force grew to 2,400 personnel in 2020 and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base were re-designated as Space Force facilities.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter or send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org