Late January and the first days of February are tough months for fans of American manned spaceflight. We lost three spacecraft between 1967 and 2003 – Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia.
With Donald Trump now President of the United States, I wonder what the future holds for NASA and manned space exploration.
Very little is coming out from the Trump Administration about NASA and any goals for the space agency. Will the agency’s budget be cut drastically and all dreams of Mars put on the backburner? Or will the agency be allowed to creep forward as it did during the Obama years? Or will Trump do the unexpected and pump a cash infusion into the agency to get it moving more quickly into interplanetary exploration, specifically a flight to Mars.
Trump is asking for executive branch department heads to make deep cuts in their budgets, so it doesn’t look good for NASA. Yet if he truly wants to Make American Great Again, what better way than to show America’s exploration prowess. Which way will the pendulum swing? Anyone willing to take an educated guess?
One of my favorite space websites has two levels of membership. One is free and is mostly made up of articles written by freelance writers with some expertise on space matters, and a space forums that cover manned and unmanned space exploration of all the space powers. The other cost money, a subscription that earns the person access to what is called L2.
In past years, I’ve paid for access to L2, and get insider information on what happening at NASA. But I let my subscription lapse and haven’t renewed it. Things are moving at a snail’s pace, and I couldn’t get motivated. But I think I’m going to renew in the hope L2 will provide some insider information on what President Trump intends to do with NASA. Maybe when I post my Feb. 20 story I can give you some insider information. Perhaps a major push to Mars? Or the obituary for America’s manned space program. Who knows?
On one of the forums, I did read a post that relayed information from a member of one of Trump’s transition teams – this one looking at NASA. The guy claimed there was a push for a big increase in NASA’s budget – from $19.3 billion to $27 billion. The reason? The speed up a mission to Mars. Some bad news, though. The giant Space Launch System rocket, based on space shuttle technology, would be canceled. Is this reliable information? Probably not. Maybe I’ll know more when I get a look at L2.
Anyway, when everyone is worried about what is going to happen to their healthcare, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, public education, and National Parks, a substantial hike in NASA’s budget probably wouldn’t go over well.
It’s tough for me. I’ve loved astronomy and space exploration ever since elementary school. And I’d love to see American astronauts walk on Mars in my lifetime – and I’m not getting any younger.
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I’m not one of those who can kick out three novels a year. I’ve managed to get three published over the last seven years. Those three belong to a sword-and-sorcery fantasy trilogy published by Wings ePress. They’re available on the websites of Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Come a little closer… I’ve something I want to whisper in your ear: “Buy them and help my sales.”
I’m working on a fourth novel, a Civil War tale full of battle scenes and romance. I’ve come up with a title: Blessed Shadows Dark & Deep. It’s written; I’m now editing the chapters. It’s my best work yet; I’m not exaggerating.