America is headed back to space. This time we’ll stay there.

If the predictions of the starry-eyed futurists of the 1960s had been right, humanity would already be a multiplanetary civilization. They expected colonies on the moon and Mars by the early 21st century, if not sooner. That obviously hasn’t happened. Even so, America may finally be ready to forge the sort of bold future in space — from near-Earth orbit to our closest neighbors and then beyond — that it abandoned decades ago.

Last year saw the United States return to human spaceflight when a SpaceX rocket ferried NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. Elon Musk’s rocket company is also now operating


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