Democratic Party voices support for NASA in 2020 platform

The Democratic Party released their 2020 platform, which includes support for NASA. (Image credit: Gage Skidmore)

The Democratic Party has voiced their support for NASA, a continued presence on the International Space Station and crewed missions to the moon and Mars, according to a draft of the Democratic Party's 2020 platform released Tuesday (July 21).

The draft platform, which you can read here, which outlines the party's platform, was sent out to party officials to review this past week. The document includes a paragraph on space policy, describing how an administration led by the presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would handle space exploration. 

As the platform states: "Democrats continue to support the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and are committed to continuing space exploration and discovery."

"We believe in continuing the spirit of discovery that has animated NASA's human space exploration, in addition to its scientific and medical research, technological innovation, and educational mission that allows us to better understand our own planet and place in the universe," it continues. 

Related: Presidential Visions for Space Exploration: From Ike to Trump

The platform goes on to specifically cite support for "our continued presence on the International Space Station," and reference NASA's aims of landing American astronauts on the moon once again and on Mars for the first time. "We support NASA's work to return Americans to the moon and go beyond to Mars, taking the next step in exploring our solar system," the platform reads.

The document, however, does not explicitly reference the agency's goal of landing a crewed mission on the moon by 2024 (the goal of NASA's current Artemis program) and lists no timeline or deadline for these moonshots. 

Additionally, the platform goes on to support "strengthening" NASA's Earth-observing missions which study climate change and its impact on our planet. 

At least from this initial overview, it appears as though the party doesn't intend to make drastic changes at NASA. Specifically, while the platform doesn't reference 2024 as a moon landing target, the stated support for crewed moon missions seems to imply continued support for Artemis. 

"NASA supporters can breathe a sigh of relief when they read the draft of the Democratic platform," John Logsdon, professor emeritus at George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute, told SpaceNews.

"There is no suggestion of major changes in NASA's direction or programs, with the welcome exception of seemingly backing off of the unrealistic 2024 deadline for the first Americans to return to the moon," Logsdon told SpaceNews. "This is overall a very supportive endorsement of the nation's space efforts."

Related: Obama's Space Legacy: Mars, Private Spaceflight and More

This is not Biden's only recent tie to space exploration. Biden served as Vice President of the Obama administration, which saw a number of major developments in the space sector including the dramatic rise of commercial spaceflight.

Biden also spoke briefly on the subject following the successful launch of SpaceX's Demo-2 mission on May 30.

"I congratulate NASA, SpaceX, and all the hardworking women and men who made today a victory for American innovation and persistence ," he said in a statement. "This mission represents the culmination of work begun years ago, and which President Obama and I fought hard to ensure would become a reality."

"As President, I look forward to advancing America's commitment to pursuing space exploration and unlocking scientific discoveries that will inspire a new generation of dreamers to gaze up at the sky and imagine all that our future may hold," Biden added.

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Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.