The newly re-activated National Space Council is acting quickly to streamline convoluted regulatory requirements that frequently slow development of new commercial space initiatives, a shift in focus in keeping with the Trump Administration’s directive to encourage more private sector development on the high frontier.
Running several days late after a series of technical and weather delays, a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 6:17 a.m. PST (9:17 a.m. EST; 1417 GMT) with the Spanish-owned Paz radar observation satellite and two prototype payloads for SpaceX’s planned Starlink broadband satellite network.
Even though it doesn’t obey any earthly speed limit and has a space-suited mannequin for a driver, Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster won’t drive up his insurance rates anytime soon. Researchers say the sports car won’t have a really close encounter with Earth until 2091 and could last millions of years before getting totaled in a planetary crackup.
The White House’s $19.9 billion NASA budget outline released Monday would continue development of NASA’s heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule and begin the deployment of a mini-space station around the moon as soon as 2022, but the proposal would cancel WFIRST, a flagship-class astronomy mission planned for launch in the mid-2020s.
The Trump administration is proposing to end direct government support of the International Space Station in 2025, but plans to include $150 million in NASA’s fiscal 2019 budget, to be unveiled Monday, to begin work on transitioning, if possible, to a more commercially focused outpost, according to an internal NASA review.