NASA and SpaceX launched the first space exploration from American soil in nearly a decade, from the Kennedy Space Center, after the Space Shuttle and Constellation programs were retired under the Obama administration. The latter program was created in hopes of sending Americans to the moon by the year 2020, but President Obama canceled the effort during his first term in office.
Restoring American space exploration was a key campaign goal of President Trump’s, and Saturday’s launch is years in the making. President Trump re-established the National Space Council, created the Space Force as the official sixth branch of the United States military, and signed NASA's largest budget in decades into law, all as a collective effort to put Americans back in space.
The Obama Administration put space exploration on the back burner by cutting funding to NASA’s programs, without congressional consideration, which was detrimental to American competitiveness in space. Indeed, the Obama-era funding cuts, coupled with the axing of the Space Shuttle program, forced NASA to rely on Russia’s state-run space program during the Obama administration. Since the cancellation of the Space Shuttle program in 2011, NASA has spent nearly $3 billion dollars to partake in Russian space launches. This hefty price tag, and dependence upon Russia, was able to end with the help of American innovation and the private sector.
SpaceX, run by Elon Musk, partnered with NASA to send American astronauts to space for the first time in nearly a decade. The historic launch represents a flourishing partnership between the private sector and the government, and proves that American innovation knows no bounds.
“...American astronauts are finally returning to space on American rockets thanks to the groundbreaking public-private partnership between SpaceX and NASA,” Michael Kratsios, the United States' Chief Technology Officer, told Townhall. “This launch proves that President Trump’s America-first, pro-innovation agenda is restoring American greatness.”
Indeed, the partnership behind Saturday’s launch brings space exploration efforts back to American soil. President Trump has made clear that American leadership in space is a top-priority, and one that can be fueled by American ingenuity, after American leadership in space exploration took a backseat under the previous administration.