Goodbye Space Force? What Joe Biden’s presidency means for space exploration


Donald Trump has set bold goals for space exploration during his time in office: from manned missions to the Moon and Mars to a Space Force. By contrast, his successor Joe Biden has been relatively quiet about space policy. So how is space exploration likely to change in the future?

It is clear that there will be a change. The current head of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, has already announced that he will step down. And we know that the US human spaceflight policy rarely survives a change of presidency.

That said, the staggering success of the manned SpaceX launch on the International Space Station (ISS), however, means the commercial crew program is likely to continue to work, taking the burden off NASA. In fact, the launch of the first operational flight of the SpaceX Commercial Company’s Crew Dragon is scheduled for November 14, with four astronauts headed to the ISS.

During the Trump administration, NASA also committed to the return of astronauts to the moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis program. This is due to its first (unmanned) test launch next year with Artemis-1. This is based on the Constellation program which was implemented by Republican President George W. Bush in 2005 but was later canceled by Democratic President Barack Obama due to its high cost and difficulty.

Artistic concept of Artemis-1.