Campaign '08

Where the candidates stand – if in fact they’re standing

In today’s issue of The Space Review I have an article summarizing the positions the various presidential candidates have taken on space issues—assuming, of course, that they’ve taken any position at all. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you won’t get too many new insights in the article, given the lack of new information from the various campaigns on this topic. I did make an effort to collect some new information from the campaigns by sending a short list of space policy questions to each campaign, but none of them responded. “That lack of response is almost certainly due primarily to the relatively obscure nature of this publication,” I note in the article, but given that the somewhat better-known Washington Post was also unable to coax much information from the campaigns, it’s also indicative of the relative importance of this issue among the candidates.

Similarly, has a roundup of statements from the candidates on space issues. This article focuses on the statements made by the candidates themselves, even outside of the current campaign (such as a Sen. Chris Dodd press release announcing some NASA SBIR awards). It’s also more comprehensive: I did not know, for example, that Alan Keyes was running for president again. I suspect most voters in Iowa and New Hampshire don’t know he’s running, either…

3 comments to Where the candidates stand – if in fact they’re standing

  • Mr. Foust’s Space Review article on the Presidential candidates states:

    “In essence, the [Clinton] policy supports a ‘robust’ human spaceflight program, including continued development of the Orion spacecraft and Ares launch vehicle (collectively known as Constellation)…”

    Apologies if I’m nitpicking or engaging in wishful thinking, but I don’t recall Clinton mentioning either Ares or Orion by name. I’m not even sure that she’s mentioned the word “Constellation”. (Although Constellation includes COTS so it could be a reference to non-Ares/Orion Shuttle replacements.)

    In fact, Clinton’s policy mentions that “She will speed development, testing, and deployment of next-generation launch and crew exploration vehicles to replace the aging Space Shuttle.” With the emphasis on the plural “vehicles”, this would seem to be an endorsement of a multi-vehicle solution unlike Ares/Orion.

    Again, apologies if I’m nitpicking or engaging in wishful thinking, but I thought Clinton’s human space flight support was a lot more non-specific with regard to vehicles than Mr. Foust’s article would lead one to believe. Please correct me if I’m wrong.


  • Al Fansome


    I don’t think it is nitpicking. I think it is important to not mistakenly read more into the Clinton policy than is actually there.

    One alternative to “SPEED development, testing and deployment of next-generation” systems is to drop the ESAS approach, which is committing over ten-billion dollars to develop a duplicative launch system (which may not even work). Of course, we can’t read that into the Clinton policy statement either, and doing so also could be a mistake.

    – Al

  • Jeff Foust

    Anon and Al:

    You are correct that Sen. Clinton has not specifically mentioned Ares and Orion by name, although the Washington Post article from November includes this statement from a Clinton campaign spokesperson: “Senator Clinton does not support delaying the Constellation program and intends to maintain American leadership in space exploration.” (This was shortly after Sen. Obama released his education policy.) Her policy statement has, in general, been perceived as supportive of Constellation; if she has an alternative to the current approach in mind, she has not identified it publicly, nor has her campaign responded to questions about it.

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