- policy recommendations for the current administration -


The policy makers in DC seem to be ignoring clear evidence of the major development in human spaceflight. It is clear that SpaceX's Starship will be the future of super heavy lift and the sending of large amounts of cargo and crew to the Moon and Mars. Even the most basic level of achievement of Starship will place into question the need for the current plan of record which is the SLS, Orion, Gateway, and Artemis. This is especially true when considering that Starship can fairly easily and safely perform the equivalent of the Artemis missions at a fraction of the cost. If NASA doesn't come on board with a public-private program with SpaceX then it risks becoming irrelevant in terms of human spaceflight as SpaceX starts delivering very large quantities of cargo and crew to the Moon and Mars while NASA continues to send a few national astronauts each year in an Apollo repeat.

Instead, the decision makers need to plan to take full advantage of the opportunities which Starship opens up. Plans should be laid to leverage Starship to conduct a large number of missions of exploration and coordinating with other countries (well beyond the Artemis Accords) to plan for a very large International Lunar Exploration Phase (ILEP). Then NASA should establish a permanent base on the Moon intended to grow into a very large International Lunar Base. Finally it should repeat this approach with Mars.

In order to remain relevant, NASA needs to partner with private companies for the development of the Moon and Mars.

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