In 2010, President Barack Obama set a new course for the United States and space exploration. It was almost 50 years since John F. Kennedy had set a mission for the United States to go to the moon. So it was fitting that Barack Obama was talking about going to planet Mars in a speech at the Kennedy Space Center.
It’s been six years since that speech and Barack Obama is nearing the end of his second and last term in office. Before he leaves the White House though, he is going to remind everyone of the United States’ ultimate goal of one day reaching planet Mars.
Barack Obama Reminds Us of Plans to Reach Planet Mars
Before attending the White House Frontiers Conference that will take place in Pittsburgh, Barack Obama wrote an editorial that CNN published. The president rarely addresses the topic of space publicly. But in this editorial he talks about NASA’s plan to one day get to Mars. He states that it was the ambition of this administration to set its sights on planet Mars. Setting out to send humans to planet Mars and return them to Earth safely by the 2030s. Obama added that the ultimate ambition would be for humans to remain on planet Mars for an extended period of time.
Successfully traveling to Mars and back is decades away in the future. But this administration already leaves behind a legacy of its own when it comes to space travel. During the Obama administration, a significant change took place in the way space travel and space exploration takes place. It’s been almost eight years since this president’s way of seeing things has changed the game. During the two terms Obama was president, a commercial space industry has grown and flourished. Obama effectively ended the monopoly that the government had on space. His decisions led to a democratization of space.
Barack Obama Ignites the Development of Commercial Space Travel
NASA retired its space shuttle in 2011 and after that had to look to the commercial sector for its missions. With billions of dollars available for contracts, NASA was looking for private companies that were ready to rise to the challenge and carry out missions flawlessly. Private companies rose to the challenge and in the process have created a commercial space industry that is now doing very well.
With new missions and new projects from private companies, interest in space has been reignited. Every new mission that ends successfully brings with it optimism that one day humanity could achieve even more. Private companies are trying out new and daring possibilities like landing a rocket on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Taking what is possible further than what NASA would have probably done.
In his editorial, Barack Obama mentions the success that opening up space travel to the commercial sector was. He points out that all this was possible with the work that was first done at NASA. But in his words you can see that he is proud that private space companies have taken off and are a success.
“Just five years ago, U.S. companies were shut out of the global commercial launch market.”
Wrote Barack Obama in his editorial.
“Today, thanks to groundwork laid by the men and women of NASA, they own more than a third of it.”, he added. “More than 1,000 companies across nearly all 50 states are working on private space initiatives.”, continued the president.
Image source: here.