With little fanfare, the White House issued a background statement through a National Security Council spokesperson that the National Space Council Donald Trump resurrected in 2017, would remain intact.
“At a time of unprecedented activity and opportunity generated by America’s activities in space, the National Space Council will be renewed to assist the President in generating national space policies, strategies, and synchronizing America’s space activities,” said the NSC statement.
“While we are still working details, we will tailor the Council to ensure we have representation that can address the priorities of the Administration—such as space-related science and technologies, space exploration, solutions to address climate change, ensuring economic and educational opportunities, building partnerships, cementing norms of behaviors in space, and addressing matters of national security efforts in space. This is not an all-inclusive list.”
The White House decision to retain the National Space Council was first reported by Politico.
NASA’s Artemis program also survived the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration. “We support this effort and endeavor.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki telling Kristin Fisher in early February. “We will send another man and another woman to the moon.”
The Biden Administration previously announced it will keep Space Force as an independent branch of the U.S. military for the first time since the U.S. Air Force was created in 1947.
The National Space Council was created in 1989 during the George H.W. Bush administration. It was scrapped in 1993 soon after Bill Clinton took office and brought back in President Trump’s first year in office. Vice President Pence was put in charge of the committee. At a Pentagon news conference Monday, press secretary John Kirby explained why space is so important.
“The secretary [of defense] takes very seriously the challenges in the space domain. And he wants the Space Force, as well as [Pentagon] joint staff planners to be thinking about how we better operate in space,” Kirby said.
Last month, NASA’s Mars landing ushered in a new era of space exploration. The Perseverance rover is currently on the red planet collecting rocks and will return to Earth in the coming years.
It’s not only NASA that has helped bring space back to the American public’s attention. Many credit Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX who some compare to a modern Howard Hughes, for helping make space a hot commodity again. While SpaceX successfully put men back into space last year, his latest attempt to test a new rocket exploded Tuesday morning in South Texas. Musk hopes the rocket will one day fly people to the moon—and even to Mars.
Musk encouraged people interested in helping him accomplish the mission to move to Texas: “Please consider moving to Starbase or greater Brownsville/South Padre area in Texas & encourage friends to do so! SpaceX’s hiring needs for engineers, technicians, builders & essential support personnel of all kinds are growing rapidly.”
Space is increasingly growing in importance to the U.S. military.
When North Korea recently conducted its first missile launches in nearly a year, U.S. spy satellites orbiting high overhead in space were watching. The infrared signatures of a launch immediately detected and warnings issued up the chain of command to the White House.
The Space Development Agency aims to launch eight satellites in 2022, according to Lee Hudson of Aviation Week.
When Iran launched nearly a dozen ballistic missiles at a base in Iraq housing U.S. troops in retaliation for President Trump ordering the killing of Iran’s most powerful general Qassem Soleimani, it was a missile warning system that tipped off the Pentagon.
The Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) warned U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq that the counterstrike was coming, according to Hudson. The warning was made in ample time to get hundreds of American troops out of harm’s way. While dozens suffered concussions from the impact of the massive Iranian missiles, no U.S. troops were killed.
The warning to U.S. forces in the Middle East came from the 2nd Space Warning Sqdn. at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., according to the head of Space Force Gen. John Raymond.
“We’re the initial bell ringer for the nation. We give the nation the ability to have attribution of where the missile would launch from and where it’s headed, so that’s the driving requirement on the program from [the Defense Support Program] through SBIRS,” Col. Dan Walter, senior materiel leader for the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) space system at the Space and Missile Systems Center, told Aviation Week.
Kirby also spoke about why satellites are so important for the military.
“They obviously play a key role in our ability to operate around the world and around the clock.”
For many Americans, Space Force helps in unsuspecting ways.
The blue dot on your smartphone map is courtesy of Space Force. It operates the constellation of over a dozen GPS satellites in space.
Fox News’s Kristin Fisher contributed to this report.