When the Trump administration begins in January and starts changing course at NASA, the new president will have at least one Democrat backing him. Sen Bill Nelson, D-Florida stated, in a wide ranging interview on WESH TV that he supported the incoming president’s plans to ramp up NASA space exploration and establish private/public partnerships.
It should be noted that Nelson supported President Barack Obama’s Journey to Mars and before that President George W. Bush’s Constellation program. The politically cynical might note that Florida is the home of the Kennedy #Space Center, from which men went to the moon and where the space shuttle was launched. The launch facility on the central Florida coast is being transformed into a part NASA part commercial launch facility with companies such as SpaceX operating from pads that were once reserved for #Government rockets.
It should also be noted, due to his influence as a congressman in 1986, Nelson snagged a ride on the space shuttle Columbia as a payload specialist. The flight of STS-61C was the last shuttle flight to occur before the Challenger accident that destroyed an orbiter and its crew minutes after launch.
Nelson is currently the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota.
Trump’s plans to revamp space exploration, including redirecting NASA toward a return to the moon in advance of sending astronauts to Mars, is likely to get wide, bi-partisan support. Obama’s abrupt cancellation of the Constellation program rankled members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Restoring a return to the moon would go a long way toward resolving that issue.
On the other hand, Trump’s plan to cut funding of climate change research and to transfer Earth science to NOAA is likely to spark partisan rancor. The Democrats have taken the position that human caused climate change is real and a serious problem, despite real scientific dissent of both propositions. The cynical again would wonder if the reason is that the prescribed solutions to climate change involve a massive expansion of government in every aspect of life. #Donald Trump