The new president of the United States is making its space policy increasingly clear: America will remain on the ground for the time being. Specifically, he has canceled the space conquest program of SpaceX Corporation, led by billionaire Elon Musk.
The US is in a stiff competition with China for spatial dominance.
Although Americans have gone to the moon and sent many advanced probes to the surface of Mars, since the end of the Cold War, American space policy has worn out in neutrality. As a result, new competitors, particularly China, emerged to challenge American dominance in the ultimate space strategy realm.
China has great ambitions for space. Not only does China plan to defeat the Americans on the Martian surface by the end of the decade, but Beijing also wants to control important orbits around the Earth. By controlling these trajectories, the Chinese military will gain significant advantages over the US military. In addition, China plans to exploit the moon to get valuable resources.
However, Americans have always had a solution in the competition with China to dominate the space: the vibrant private creative sector. More specifically, there are more and more private space startups, such as the billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Thanks to his reusable rocket design, Elon Musk’s company has cut the cost of launching missiles by 40% – a staggering figure. SpaceX insists it can keep those costs down even further. In addition, SpaceX missiles are produced entirely domestically. And as the race to Mars between the US and China is straining, Elon Musk’s new reusable Starship rocket that sends spacecraft into distant space could be the fast means. quickly carried American astronauts to Mars before China sent its astronauts to the Red Planet.
Of course, the Starship reusable rockets have not been approved by anyone yet. But in a different American spirit, this experimental spacecraft will do wonders and its development should be encouraged. The Trump administration has strongly encouraged SpaceX to move forward with its Starship spaceship program.
However, America just got a new president. And this President Joe Biden is making it increasingly clear his space policy priorities: America will remain on the ground for the moment, not into space.
On January 28, SpaceX prepared to put its Starship missile under another test in the blue sky above Texas. The goal of the test is to get the giant rocket propelled up to 12.5km off the ground and then turn the giant rocket backwards so it can land vertically to the ground.
Sadly, the visionary goal of sending Americans to Mars for the first time collapsed when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA – the agency under the Trump administration allowed SpaceX to make the trips). their important test flight) are now ordered by the new President Biden to force Musk to cancel the test of the Starship prototype.
The FAA did not state the reasons behind the order to cancel the launch. Many people have speculated that the cancellation was made due to safety concerns. Anyway, in December 2020, SpaceX conducted a test of the Starship rocket and it has reached a height of about 66,000 meters. After reorienting itself to allow a vertical landing, it exploded.
Even so, SpaceX has learned many valuable lessons from the December failure and will be applied to improve the Starship January launch. In science, the only lasting failure happens when people refuse to test an improved idea or a new hypothesis. This premise is especially true in the context of the new space race between the US and China.
The reason the FAA cancels the launch may be part of the Biden administration’s decision to a massive effort to undo the Trump administration’s vibrant space policy. Plus, Mr. Trump’s space vision is clearly aimed at countering China’s advancements in space. And it is unlikely that the Biden administration wants to continue Mr. Trump’s space policy, as Mr. Biden’s team is trying to soften US relations with Beijing that are deteriorating over the next few years.
His concern about Musk’s plan to move to Mars may be another factor that prompted the FAA to cancel the launch of the Starship. In 2020, Musk pointed out that any future SpaceX Martian colony would not be “ruled by Earth-based laws.” The problem for Musk is that SpaceX has been awarded lucrative contracts by the Earth-based US government. If SpaceX creates a colony on Mars, because of the company’s contractual relationship with the US government, Washington highly expects that colony to be an American endeavor.
Finally, Musk has publicly supported the recent “GameStonk” controversy. A group of private, anonymous investors on Reddit decided to engage in a small-scale operation by raising the stock price of Gamestop, a video game retailer. Melvin Capital, a long-standing investment firm on Wall Street, was forced into bankruptcy by the move (they bet the opposite way, trying to “under-sell” Gamestop shares).
The “GameStonk” event was of such importance that the Biden administration pledged to prevent the same thing from happening again. Congress is even participating. Musk’s reputation and his strong support for a group of anonymous private investors on Reddit helped take down Melvin Capital, possibly the Biden administration punishing Musk by canceling the Starship launch. at the last minute.
It’s not just Musk who suffers from the FAA’s cancellation of the SpaceX test flight. The American people and all their efforts to defeat China to Mars have also suffered. The Biden administration’s decision to increase regulations for the private space service sector has stalled their operations, as evidenced by the recent cancellation of Starship, which will only help China. Quoc is on a mission to defeat the US in the new space race.
According to the Washington Times,