President-elect Trump may be facing a crisis in U.S. space policy during his tenure thanks to the cost-driven policies pursued by his predecessor. Because current space policy tends to favor a low price-tag over risk-reduction, the government has backed into launch solutions for the future that might endanger U.S. access to space. To avoid a potential crisis, the Trump Administration will need to buy itself some insurance — a Plan B if the ideas being pursued by SpaceX and United Launch Alliance falter. The simplest, cheapest answer is to fund development of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR-1 engine, a system that is less risky than other next-gen engine concepts. President Trump should direct the Air Force to continue funding development of AR-1 to guard against the failure of more challenging technologies. When you depend on space systems as much as America does, there always needs to be a backup plan for assuring access to orbit. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
Find Archived Articles: