With the budget passed for 2019, a major push in funding has been for NASA, as they receive a budget of $21.5 billion; $1.6 billion over the initial request of $19.9 billion. With this increase, NASA can continue to focus their efforts to privatizing Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for space companies so as to lower the cost of transporting supplies and allowing space agencies to focus on future missions to the Moon. This past week, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has highlighted how he foresees putting astronauts back on the Moon by 2028. This timeline puts the United States back on a path to reclaiming the mantel of pushing the frontiers of space travel.
This decision comes not a moment too soon as other countries have been aggressive in pushing lunar missions. In January, China has successfully landed a lunar rover, named Chang’e 4, on to the surface. In addition, Israel is set to launch a lunar lander later this week on a SpaceX Falcon rocket. The aggressive push by other countries could be the incentive that the Trump Administration needs to put space exploration back on to the radar for the United States.
To conclude, the future looks bright for NASA as it continues to push for future space exploration. Like the great Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States, the competition between nations has advanced mankind towards new heights. Perhaps the presence of China could be the motivation that the United States needs to direct resources, and industries, towards scientific research and developing new technologies. I will be curious to see how private companies will play a part in advancing nations past Low Earth Orbit to goals like the Moon and Mars.