With the 2004 election now behind us (sooner than I had imagined—or feared), Florida Today examined what Bush’s reelection and the Republicans’ hold on Congress meant for space policy. According to those interviewed, the election gives NASA an opportunity to solidify the Vision for Space Exploration through CEV development, an initial lunar robotic mission, and related activities. The article cautions towards the end, though, that budget pressures could cause problems for the program—and presumably NASA in general— down the road. (Ignore the reference to a $7-trillion budget deficit, though.)
The success of the vision appears to depend on the answers to a few key questions:
- Will Congress be more willing to support and fund the VSE now that Bush has been reelected?
- Will the President be willing to speak out and use political capital to support the VSE if Congress isn’t willing to fully support it?
- Will Sean O’Keefe be “promoted” to a higher, possibly Cabinet-level position next year, as has been frequently rumored? If so, when does he leave (before or after RTF), and who might take his place?