What kind of civilian space program can we expect from a President Hillary? Here’s some excerpts from a recent Space Review article by Taylor Dinerman on the subject:
Senator Clinton’s space policy looks pretty good, but as we learned in the years 1993 through 2001, one always has to pay very close attention to every word and every comma. Nowhere in the policy, for example, is there a commitment to spending more on NASA. In her October 4th speech on science policy she promised to “increase support for basic and applied research by increasing the research budgets at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the Department of Defense.” Notice the absence of NASA.
Meanwhile, she did say that she would “make the financial investments in research and development necessary to shore up and expand our competitive edge.” That implies that she would, at the very least, restore NASA’s aeronautics budget to its pre-2004 level. That means finding an extra half billion dollars. Without making any commitment to an overall increase in the agency’s budget, it’s hard to see how this could be done without cutting into the budgets for science and exploration.
Despite lacking a solid promise to return to the Moon and to build and outpost there, Hillary Clinton’s space policy is nonetheless an improvement over her husband’s. Until Bush came up with the VSE, NASA was reduced to using euphemisms such as “accessible planetary surfaces” when they meant to say the Moon and Mars. Today NASA has a fairly clear direction and is, within the limits of what is possible for any government bureaucracy, headed in the right direction. The junior senator from New York’s policy is probably the best and most realistic one we can expect from a Democrat.