How Republicans Will Ensure the USA Wins the Next Space Race
Sixty years ago the Soviet Union shocked the USA by first putting a satellite into orbit and thereafter enabling Yuri Gagarin to become the first man in space.
The USA was desperate to catch up and then surpass its Cold War enemy and so NASA was created to take Uncle Sam into space. Kennedy announced the impossible stretch-goal of sending men to the moon and returning them safely to Earth before the end of the decade.
To accomplish US superiority in space, a new breed of hero would be required: men of uncommon grit, determination, and ambition.
The men who subsequently became NASA’s pioneers of human spaceflight were celebrated first in a book by Tom Wolfe and then in a movie; both were called The Right Stuff.
These men (and they were all men, because only the atheist baby-eating amoral Soviets would think of putting a woman into space) had what it took when it was needed. They were strong, they were highly educated, they had nerves of steel.
Today we need a very different breed of space-faring hero. The Soviet Union no longer exists; Russia is an economically enfeebled kleptocracy unable to aspire to the stars. China is today’s enemy, rich and obsessed with ensuring a Chinese face is next to the moon, first on Mars, and who knows where after that. It’s not surprising that the Chinese are busy grooming their own version of The Right Stuff.
Unfortunately for the Chinese space agency, they haven’t taken into account the fact that times have changed. Today the USA has a unique competitive advantage that suits it perfectly for the coming age of deep space exploration.
This article will explain why.
Most human activity in space has been in low Earth orbit, less than 450 kilometers above the surface of our blue planet. While extended periods of zero gravity have deleterious effects on the human body, astronauts and cosmonauts ensconced within the various orbiting space stations have all been shielded from solar radiation by the Earth’s magnetic field. Only the Apollo astronauts ventured beyond its protective embrace, and then for very short duration.