Is there a conservative/right-wing party in the USA or Europe which plans space exploration? If there are many examples, I'm interested in which example came first chronologically.

UPD: answers shold reference written statements in their programs, if there are any.

  • What is your definition for "planning space exploration"? I not cutting the funding of existing programs enough? Is a proposal to increase funding for existing programs enough, or is it necessary that they propose new programs?
    – Hulk
    Commented May 28, 2021 at 8:49
  • quotes from their programs?
    – J. Doe
    Commented May 28, 2021 at 8:59
  • What I meant is: Is it enough that they are ok with the currently existing agencies and their activities, like ESA and NASA, or are you looking for more specific goals?
    – Hulk
    Commented May 28, 2021 at 9:35
  • I'm looking for written statements in their programs, if there are any.
    – J. Doe
    Commented May 28, 2021 at 12:08
  • @J.Doe please edit that into your question Commented May 28, 2021 at 12:36

4 Answers 4


The Republican Party has historically been in favor of space exploration ever since the Space Race began

The Space Race is generally agreed to have begun in 1955, when both the US and the Soviet Union announced that they were going to launch artificial satellites during the International Geophysical Year (1957-58). With the Soviets successfully launching Sputnik 1 before the Americans were able to launch their own satellite, competing with the Soviets in space exploration quickly became viewed as imperative to maintaining national security (the main reasons being that, orbital spaceflight capability also implies the capability to deliver nuclear weapons to any location on Earth).

Dwight Eisenhower was the President of the United States in 1955, and a Republican. In light of the difficulties with the Americans to compete with the Soviets, Eisenhower actually called for the creation of a single civilian agency to manage non-military space exploration activities. That agency is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which still exists today.

Richard Nixon was Eisenhower's Vice President. He played a very significant role overseeing these activities, and then later became President just as the Apollo Program finally started landing men on the moon. He was very personally enthusiastic about space exploration, and wanted to pursue missions beyond the moon. Unfortunately, the public and Congress were less willing to spend money on space exploration given the Soviets were seen as having been beaten and there were other priorities for the money, so most of those ambitious projects were scrapped. The one project that remained was the Space Transportation System, a part of which did get built that was more commonly known as the Space Shuttle.

Ronald Reagan was very supportive of the Space Shuttle program because he viewed it as necessary part of the Cold War. If anything, you could say he was too invested in it; some people claim his administration's involvement in the Space Shuttle program led to the Challenger disaster, specifically through trying to portray what was an experimental spacecraft (read: a very dangerous vehicle) as an operational one (read: a vehicle safe enough to have school teachers riding on it on a regular basis).

George W. Bush was also interested in spaceflight and started the Constellation program, whose goals were to return to the moon and then explore Mars. This program got cancelled, but we got the current Orion space capsule and the Space Launch System out of it.

The Democratic Party has actually been less in favor of space exploration than most people think

Most people think of John F. Kennedy when they think of American space exploration, thanks to his rather famous speech where he announced that Americans would land a man on the moon and return him safely to the Earth before 1970. The truth was Kennedy was originally lukewarm at best about the space program until the success of Project Mercury made him realize it was a politically useful way to compete with the Soviets, especially given that he had several scandals at the time (notably, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba).

Lyndon Johnson was President after Kennedy, and although he was publicly a vocal proponent of space exploration, he also wanted the massive amounts of money that were being spent on it to be used for other purposes, specifically the Vietnam War and the Great Society. He was responsible for cutting back Saturn rocket production back from the original planned levels, effectively shortening the Apollo program and any follow-on efforts using that technology (e.g. the Apollo Applications Program and Skylab).

Barack Obama's administration cancelled the Constellation Program, and pursued the Commercial Crew Program specifically as a way for the government to spend less money on space exploration. Which... turned out great, actually, because we got a lot of cool stuff from SpaceX out of that at bargain-basement prices.


Trump made a grand show of pledging the US landing people back on the moon in 2024.

Trump Hails Mars As NASA's Next Target, Says the Moon's 'Not So Exciting'

Trump attacks Nasa and claims the moon is 'a part' of Mars

For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2019

That's not quite the same thing as the Republican party backing it in general, but it's not that far off either.

  • It is far off. The plan was unrealistic, underfunded, and based on what is arguably inferior technology (Space Launch System, Orion, and Gateway). Commented May 28, 2021 at 19:40
  • 5
    The question wasn't asking if the plan was realistic or feasible. Only if a right wing party supported space exploration. Commented May 28, 2021 at 19:43
  • 3
    I know Trump is not very science-literate (or very literate in general), but I think he meant that going to the Moon is a part of the process of getting to Mars, not that the Moon is physically part of Mars. So NASA shouldn't be planning independent Moon missions.
    – Barmar
    Commented May 28, 2021 at 23:09
  • 1
    @Barmar Maybe, but I couldn't resist displaying how articulate Trump is, in his own words. Commented May 29, 2021 at 6:28

This examplee is not in the U.S. or Europe, but the conservative leaning BJP party of India (which is a Hindu Nationalist Party) has supported space exploration and India's space program, and has funded it reasonably generously. See generally here (reviewing the activities of India's main governmental agency charged with space exploration) and here (setting forth when the BJP has been in government).

Russia's post-Soviet government has supported its space program, is partially European, and might fairly be described as conservative in much of the post-Soviet era.

Europe, after a long period of relatively active support for space programs, has receded in importance as a sponsor of space exploration, relative to Russia, China, and the U.S.

China has had a vigorous space program, although it is hard to say whether its authoritarian statist communist single party with a high concentration of China's wealthiest people holding its highest offices is aptly described as "conservative" or something else.


Since you also wondered about Europe, the answer is yes for at least one conservative party.

The Dutch "Forum voor Democratie" (Forum for Democracy) is undeniably a conservative party, ideologically close to Trump Republicans. The first issue they mention in their political program is a total ban on immigration. But on space exploration, they call for direct government spending, including an Israel-style moon mission and a launch base in Aruba.

(It would make way more sense to have that launch base in Surinam, but the FvD is not exactly popular there due to the perceived racism)

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