Jeff Foust of The Space Review breaks down the U.S. presidential race from the space perspective, and finds that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the only Republican candidate who has spoken in detail about space policy.
“Gingrich has made it clear that he is not a supporter of the space agency as it currently operates,” Foust writes, “perceiving it as bureaucratic and sluggish.” In a June debate, he claimed that “[h]ad the money allocated to NASA in the four decades since the Apollo lunar landings been properly spent … the country would have a lunar base and several space stations.” The former speaker has suggested he would support large financial prizes to incentivize the private sector in space transportation and exploration.
Current GOP front-runner Mitt Romney has said little about space during the current campaign. However, he made a few statements during his 2008 presidential run, endorsing President George W. Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration but declining “to commit to increasing NASA’s budget in order to shorten the post-Shuttle gap,” Foust writes.
The other Republican candidates also have been silent on space, but Foust looks at their records for clues as to where they would take the nation’s space program if elected.