At a time of uncertainty during the widespread coronavirus pandemic and political unrest, the United States launched its first American spacecraft in almost a decade.
According to the Kennedy Space Center’s commercial crew launch webpage (Rocket Launch: May 30, 2020 3:22 PM EDT | Commercial Crew SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 (CREWED)), SpaceX helped send “two NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, on a test mission to prove the systems meet NASA’s requirements for certifications to carry astronauts to the [International Space Station] and back.”
The event was met with the collectively hopeful response of political officials and representatives of SpaceX and NASA who emphasized the importance of America’s strength in unity and its recent achievement on historical and prospective levels.
On the day of the launch, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center and praised the Trump administration’s efforts to revive the American spaceflight industry by “reforming the national space traffic management system” and streamlining “regulations for the commercial use of space.”
According to the White House, President Trump’s efforts to revitalize American spaceflight date back to June 2017 when he signed an executive order to revive the National Space Council since its disbanding in 1993. Working closely with NASA, President Trump has issued four Space Policy Directives over the past three years to ensure the country’s progress in space commercially and strategically. The most recent of these directives is SP-4, which officially established the United States Space Force.
Following Pence’s statements, Trump made a point of putting partisan politics aside for the benefit of the United States. “Let us also all commit to a brighter future for all of our citizens on Earth. When Americans are united, there is nothing we cannot do.” Trump subsequently elaborated on the country’s “brighter future,” a cumulation of the administration and NASA’s efforts to bring American astronauts back on the moon and on to Mars.
“By 2024, our astronauts will return to the lunar surface to establish a permanent presence and launching pad to Mars. And the first woman on the moon will be an American woman. And the first nation to land on Mars will be the United States of America,” Trump stated.
In a separate interview regarding the Crew Dragon with YouTube channel Everyday Astronaut, NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk, similarly addressed their visions of American spaceflight while discussing the current political divide.
“I really hope this is something, that like everyone, no matter what their political leanings are, how they feel, can be excited. They can look at this and be excited about the future.” Musk said.
Jim added to the SpaceX CEO’s statement by referring to the current protests in response to police brutality and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a bright shining moment in a very difficult time. And we’ve had these in the past, and this is what NASA has been historically, a signal of hope in a time of troubled circumstances.”
In comparison to American perseverance amidst the Vietnam War protests and Civil Rights abuses of the 1960s, “one of the most difficult times in American history,” Bridenstine also discussed how citizens of the United States today can also succeed despite uncertainty.
“In 1968, we sent astronauts around the moon [and] in 1969 we landed on the moon. That was probably one of the most difficult times in American history and yet we still achieved those magnificent things. And here we are, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and we can still do magnificent things.” Bridenstine said.
Behnken and Hurley’s successful demonstration mission represents what America can accomplish when it puts aside politics of division. Only when Americans are brought together by a common goal, such as interstellar travel, can they shine light upon the country’s power in unison and advance it ever further into the future.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon is currently slated to return from the ISS around August 2nd, according to NASA official Steve Stich on CBS news.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.