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The Democrats have added language to their party platform that expresses support for NASA and continuing its funding.
It’s only a single paragraph filled with the typical blather we see in both parties’ platforms: We support it! It’s great! It’s for the children!. The last line however gives a sense of where they’d like to focus their funding:
We will strengthen support for NASA and work in partnership with the international scientific community to launch new missions to space.
Not surprisingly, if compelled to support space the Democrats see it mostly as a vehicle for increased international cooperation.
Despite my cynical analysis above, the fact that both parties feel compelled right now to express positions supporting the exploration of space is a sign indicating where the political winds are blowing. The excitement created by SpaceX’s low prices and successful vertical first stage landings has even reached into the thick skulls of politicians from both parties. Rather than mouth the Democratic half-century-old mantra that “We should solve our problems here on Earth before spending it in space” (first pushed hard by Ted Kennedy in a speech the night before Apollo 11 was launched to the Moon), Democrats have not only apparently concluded that this won’t sell anymore, they now feel it necessary to express support for space funding.
Now, if only we can convince them to stop wasting it on SLS we might actually build a thriving and competitive space industry, capable of doing it all.