AP FACT CHECK: Trump claim of saving space program off base

Hope Yen, Related Press

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  • President Donald Trump points to Elon Musk as he arrives to speak after viewing the SpaceX flight to the International Space Station, at Kennedy Space Center, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Photo: Alex Brandon, AP / Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

    President Donald Trump factors to Elon Musk as he arrives to talk after viewing the SpaceX flight to the Worldwide House Station, at Kennedy House Middle, Saturday, Could 30, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

    President Donald Trump factors to Elon Musk as he arrives to talk after viewing the SpaceX flight to the Worldwide House Station, at Kennedy House Middle, Saturday, Could 30, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

    Photograph: Alex Brandon, AP

President Donald Trump factors to Elon Musk as he arrives to talk after viewing the SpaceX flight to the Worldwide House Station, at Kennedy House Middle, Saturday, Could 30, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

President Donald Trump factors to Elon Musk as he arrives to talk after viewing the SpaceX flight to the Worldwide House Station, at Kennedy House Middle, Saturday, Could 30, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Photograph: Alex Brandon, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is making claims on area which can be astray from actuality.

Over the weekend, he took full credit score for the federal government’s function within the launch of SpaceX, the first-ever personal spacecraft to realize orbit with astronauts on board. Trump additionally asserted that he saved the area program after President Barack Obama had ruined it and urged {that a} Mars mission with astronauts was imminent.

These statements are exaggerations.

TRUMP: “With this launch, the many years of misplaced years and little motion are formally over. …Previous leaders put america on the mercy of international nations to ship our astronauts into orbit. Not anymore. In the present day we as soon as once more proudly launch American astronauts on American rockets.” — remarks Saturday.

THE FACTS: It isn’t true that authorities’s function in SpaceX’s launch is due all to Trump. The trail to a industrial launch was paved over greater than 10 years, spanning each the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Below Bush, NASA started an effort to commercialize area following the shuttle Columbia catastrophe in 2003, which killed its crew of seven. In 2006, he began a program to get industrial firms to ship cargo to the Worldwide House Station. The Obama administration “pushed it tougher, a lot tougher,” mentioned Syracuse College area coverage professor Henry Lambright.

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By 2012, a robotic SpaceX capsule docked with the Worldwide House Station for the primary time.

In the meantime, with the House Shuttle program winding down, the Obama administration labored to broaden the area commercialization effort, giving cash to non-public firms to develop spacecraft that would carry astronauts to orbit.

In a briefing with reporters final month, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine particularly acknowledged the work of Charles Bolden, Obama’s NASA administrator, who he mentioned helped make the SpaceX launch doable.

“It is a program that demonstrates the success when you may have continuity of goal going from one administration to the following,” Bridenstine mentioned.

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TRUMP: “Once I first got here into workplace three and a half years in the past, NASA had misplaced its manner … The final administration presided over the closing of the House Shuttle … Folks have been crying. They have been devastated. However now it’s the best of its variety anyplace on the earth.” — remarks Saturday.

THE FACTS: He’s falsely suggesting that Obama shuttered the area shuttle program. Truly, it was Bush.

After the Columbia catastrophe, Bush determined the remaining shuttles have been too harmful to proceed with current missions and could be retired.

“The shuttle’s chief goal over the following a number of years can be to assist end meeting of the Worldwide House Station,” Bush mentioned on Jan. 14, 2004. “In 2010, the area shuttle, after almost 30 years of obligation, can be retired from service.”

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TRUMP: “For each citizen who has eagerly waited for America to reignite these engines of will, confidence and creativeness that put a person on the moon, I stand earlier than you to say you want wait now not. For NASA’s Artemis program, america is getting ready for a crewed mission to Mars.” — remarks Saturday.

THE FACTS: NASA is just not at present getting ready for a mission to Mars with astronauts.

The Trump administration has continued NASA’s long-term aim of sending astronauts to Mars, however has modified the short-term aim to a return to the moon first (Obama favored a go to to an asteroid as a substitute of the moon). The Trump administration is attempting to speed up NASA’s plan for returning individuals to the lunar floor. It’s hoping to make a moon mission doable by 2024.

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Mars would come a decade after that, perhaps longer.

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AP Aerospace Author Marcia Dunn in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and AP Science Author Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland, contributed to this report.

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EDITOR’S NOTE — A take a look at the veracity of claims by political figures.

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