Back to the (dark side!) of the moon by 2020


The Trump administration is pondering a vision for the U.S. space program calling for a return to the moon by 2020. This would require building independently managed space stations and a redirection of NASA’s current mission to “the large-scale economic development of space.”

The strategy, whose potential for igniting a new sector allure to Trump’s company background and job-development pledges, is shaping the White House’s quest for leaders to run the space agency. And it is setting off a battle for supremacy between traditional aerospace contractors and the technology billionaires who’ve put a lot of money into private space ventures.

Former Republican Rep. Robert Walker drafted Trump’s campaign space policy and is still involved in the deliberations. “Billions of dollars are at stake. It has now come to a head when it became apparent to the space community that the actual creative work is being done outside of NASA.”

The early indications are that private rocket companies like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX – their supporters have a clear upper hand in what Trump’s transition advisors depicted as a race between “New Space” and “Old Space,” according to emails among key players in the administration.

More after the jump.

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