Star Wars II? | NBC New York

Star Wars II?

Obama looks to the heavens to take on China



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    Chinese astronauts Liu Boming, Zhai Zhigang, and Jing Haipeng receive heroes welcome during their visit to Hong Kong in December. The three astronauts were aboard the Shenzhou VII spacecraft for China's third manned space mission in September. Zhai performed first-ever Chinese space walk. Successes such as these are causing incoming Obama administration to examine state of US space program.

    Democrats might want to get prepared to start asking questions like this over the next four years: "What would we say if Bush had proposed this?" 

    First on the agenda:  "Star Wars" -- in a way that not even Ronald Reagan could have dreamed?

     Kinda looks like it. From Bloomberg News: 

    "President-elect Barack Obama will probably tear down long-standing barriers between the U.S.’s civilian and military space programs to speed up a mission to the moon amid the prospect of a new space race with China.

    Obama’s transition team is considering a collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration because military rockets may be cheaper and ready sooner than the space agency’s planned launch vehicle, which isn’t slated to fly until 2015, according to people who’ve discussed the idea with the Obama team.

    The potential change comes as Pentagon concerns are rising over China’s space ambitions because of what is perceived as an eventual threat to U.S. defense satellites, the lofty battlefield eyes of the military."

    "Star Wars", of course, was the nickname given to Reagan's missile-defense-shield.  Reagan's people had the idea of a space-based defense platform (it's been since replaced with land-based technology).  But not even Reagan would have suggested having the NASA and DOD cross-pollinate in the way Obama appears to be considering -- specifically with the idea of addressing China's aggressive move to build satellites that would have the capability of taking out US communication satellites. . 

    Again, imagine what kind of uproar would have broken out if Bush had talked about NASA and the Pentagon working together on his suggested (but swiftly-abandoned) "mission to Mars." 

    How serious is Obama about this? Well, the fact that the story was released the day after New Year's suggests that Obama is serious about it -- but doesn't want people thinking about the ramifications yet. Yoda might say, "Mmmm.....yes, The Force is strong in this one."