Playing the Space Trump Card: Relaunching a National Space Council

As the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump kicks into high gear, the future of the country's civil and military activities in space is on the table. Late in the 2016 presidential race, the Trump campaign aired the idea of relaunching the National Space Council (NSC) to oversee U.S. space policy. When NASA was formed, the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 mandated an aeronautics and space advisory group as a mechanism to help guide America's space agenda. Over the following decades there has been an on-again, off-again history of a National Space Council to serve the U.S. President. The idea of such a Council is seemingly in play again in the wake of the 2016 election. But just how politics, agency cultures, personalities, and budget constraints play nice with each other in 2017 – in terms of resuscitating a National Space Council – is anybody's guess. Under such a plan, the council would be established within the Executive Office of the President of the United States, and would likely be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence after the new administration takes office. In a pre-presidential election speech in Florida, Pence sketched out elements of the campaign's space policy — one that reconstitutes the National Space Council to focus on human space exploration and the augmented use of public-private partnerships. "Our space program needs new leadership, and a new vision," he said. But if a National Space Council were to be re-established, how useful would it be? Space.com interviewed a variety of space experts, both for and against the idea, to find out. Read More: Space.Com

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