Dating back to the original Space Race, when the U.S. beat Russia to become the first country to put a man on the moon, America has been at the forefront of space exploration as a vanguard for the entire planet. But all that could change soon.
Space reports on a new white paper called “Ensuring U.S. Leadership in Space” that posits that NASA is on the verge of losing its leadership position if the country doesn’t get focused and actually start investing in space exploration and sciences again.
The 12-group coalition that authored the paper is pushing for stable funding (a tall order to say the least) for NASA, as well as the completion of a crewed launch system (namely Orion) and a broader push into international partnerships as the best way to keep the U.S. in the front of the pack. Elliot Pulham, CEO of the nonprofit Space Foundation, said the report found a “rather unprecedented consensus” among the space community in regard to the report and the steps that need to be taken.
It’s sobering, to be sure, but the report has some truth to it. Just think about it — we’ve been hitching rides with the Russians for years now just to reach the International Space Station (ISS), because the U.S. doesn’t have a workable crew module at the moment. Yes, partnerships with private space firms are working to fill the gap (and we’re almost there!), but we’re not there yet.
The report noted the first step will be to conquer the “malaise” the U.S. has been stuck in ever since the moon landings (that was 40 years ago, folks), and kickstart some new momentum for space exploration.