President-elect Donald Trump says he loves NASA and that “space is terrific,” although “we’ve got to fix our potholes,” too. These statements—given to a 10-year-old boy who asked about NASA at an event in Manchester, New Hampshire in November 2015—would prove to be the most informative things Trump offered about the nation’s space program for most of his presidential campaign.
Almost a year later, as he campaigned along Florida’s “Space Coast” near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Trump offered more specifics about his space-policy plans, vowing to revitalize the agency through cost-saving partnerships with the burgeoning commercial space industry. According to an accompanying op-ed from the campaign, NASA under Trump would transform from “a logistics agency for low-Earth orbit activity” into a spaceflight powerhouse with the lofty goal of conducting “human exploration of our entire solar system by the end of this century.”
As of yet, Trump has made no further mention of space in his public statements or his 100-day agenda, discussing instead executive actions on trade, energy, national security, immigration and the economy. Indeed, as of this writing no members of Trump’s NASA transition team are known to have met with senior NASA officials, who have been awaiting the onset of discussions for weeks.