Mark Kelly’s views on space force, NASA’s return to Artemis moon are problematic

Arizona State Senator candidate Captain Mark Kelly has an impressive resume. He flew combat missions during Operation Desert Storm. Twice as a mission commander he flew four times on the space shuttle.

However, Kelly’s views on space policy, a topic he should be familiar with, given his previous occupation, are problematic.

Kelly opposed the creation of the United States Space Force. Former astronaut about two years ago Tweeted“It’s a dumb idea. The Air Force does this already. That is their job. What’s next, we move the submarine to the 7th branch and call it ‘the power under the sea’? ”

The report of the United States National Security Space Management and Organization Evaluation Commission, released in January 2001, contradicts Kelly. The report concludes that the Air Force considers space operations secondary to its primary goal of fighting in the air. The report recommends the creation of a “space corps” within the Air Force and a separate military division to oversee space operations.

President TrumpDonald John Trump North Korea Unveils Large Intercontinental Ballistic Missile at Military Parade Trump No Longer Risks of COVID-19 Transition, Dr. Cutter Says Trump Campaign New Advertising Shows More And the United States Congress, on a bipartisan basis, created the Space Force because they believed that space warfare was separated from air combat. As China and Russia developed weapons to strike at US space assets, the need for a separate service branch to counter this threat became more apparent.

NASA Administrator Jim BridensteinJames (Jim) Frederick Bridenstein’s NASA Bridenstein: We’re Really Going to the South Pole of the Moon Supported the establishment of the Space Force. NASA recently signed an agreement with the Space Force to cooperate in a number of areas of mutual interest, including “human spaceflight, U.S. space policy, space transport, standards and best practices for safe operation in space, scientific research and planetary conservation.”

Kelly also opposes NASA’s plan to send Artemis back to the moon. The Daily Beast notes that he said, “We should just go to Mars. Forget about the moon. We’ve been there. We have done that. “

The idea that the United States should abandon the moon has caused American astronauts to visit it six times a year, with a smile on his face. The moon not only contains many great opportunities for science, but also valuable resources that could accelerate the space-based industrial revolution. The International Artemis Alliance has already gained a lot of political soft power for the United States.

The moon could play a crucial role for human Mars missions, according to MIT studies. The moon’s poles contain millions of tons of water ice that can be refined into rocket fuel. The spacecraft heading to Mars, instead of taking all the fuel needed directly from Earth, could go into lunar orbit before moving forward. Stopping by the moon will save 68 percent of the mass of the Mars ship, thus a big deal in launch costs.

Bridenstein points out that the Moon provides space only three days apart to test Mars technology and research techniques. Mars is six months to a year away, so it makes sense to test it on the moon first.

Why would former Navy aviator and astronaut Kelly have such views on space policy? His opposition to a separate Space Force and Artemis lunar program seems to come from a stagnant mindset in the past. Astronauts are not just going to plant flags, collect stones, travel the alien world and return to the Ticker Tape Parade. They will go to those unknown places to live, do science, start a business, mine resources and build a space based economy. The construction of the moon, Mars, asteroids and beyond will require defense against enemy action.

If Kelly is elected to the United States Senate, she will be just one of 100 senators. But, because of his background, he probably did. Will serve on committees overseeing military and / or space policy. It would be a good thing if he became aware of the realities of space and military policy in the 21st century.

Not coincidentally, three former astronauts, Tom Stafford, Charlie Duke and Jack Lausma, have backed Kelly’s opponent. Sen. Martha MaxleyMartha Elizabeth Maxley may see war state election delays on election night, first joint campaign Biden, Harris to visit Arizona on Thursday, close Biden’s wide lead in post-debate vote, Republicans more panicked (R-Ariz.). The trio did not mention Kelly’s views on space policy, but said, “But having an ‘astronaut’ on your resume does not mean you will be a good US senator.” The assessment is certainly correct due to the opposition of the candidate for the Space Force and Artemis program.

Mark Whitting, a frequent writer on space and politics, has published a political study of space exploration, Why Not Go Hard Back to the Moon? As well as the Moon, Mars and Beyond. Blogs on Total Carmudgens Corner. It has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, USA Today, LA Times and Washington Post, among other places.