An editorial in today’s Florida Today offers a familiar complaint: presidential candidates don’t seem to care about space policy. The current crop of candidates, both Democratic and Republican, haven’t yet articulated policy positions on space (yes, it is traditionally early in the election cycle, but not in this distended campaign); the editorial cites as an example some glittering generalities recently spoken by Mitt Romney during an area campaign stop. “It’s time for the White House wannabes to recognize the program’s importance for vital domestic and national security reasons,” the paper argues, citing in part perceived competitive pressures from Russia and China. The paper doesn’t consider, though, that the campaigns may have already done their calculations on this topic and found that importance lacking.
If you think getting attention for NASA’s current plans isn’t difficult enough, Mike Snead has a bigger challenge for you in this week’s issue of The Space Review: getting the pro-space community to press the next president to support revamping our space infrastructure, which would consist of, in his words, “two-stage fully-reusable space access systems for passenger and cargo transport with ‘aircraft-like’ safety and operability, permanent space logistics facilities in low Earth orbit to establish a base of operations for government and commercial space operators, and fully-reusable space transportation capabilities and logistics support services throughout the Earth-Moon system”. That’s a big challenge, but he outlines a proposal to carry out such an effort, focusing on the policy aspects rather than the technology. “This must become the priority of the American pro-space community,” he concludes, although it’s not at all clear that, even if the “pro-space community” supported such a proposal, it would have the influence to get the attention of the next president or even the leading presidential candidates.