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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden should anticipate major and minor conflicts in space from even the earliest days of his presidency.

The big picture: President Donald Trump's military and civil space policies are well-documented, but Biden's record and views on space are less clear.

"They need to be prepared on day one, for space contingencies that could arise — everything from a hostile attack in space to some sort of anti-satellite test," Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, told me.

  • It's also possible an attack could be in the "gray zone" where a country does something that isn't overt — like jamming or using one satellite to inspect another — but would put the U.S. in a tough spot, according to Harrison.

Between the lines: The Biden administration will face pressure to stay the course on some of Trump's space-related policies.

  • The Space Force, for example, is seen as largely beneficial by space insiders because it makes space a priority.
  • Some experts tell Axios they hope Biden will take a relatively hands-off approach to the Space Force, by comparison to Trump, who used the new military branch as a rallying cry for supporters.

The intrigue: While the U.S.' civil and military space programs operate separately, they often act as a united front geopolitically.

  • Harrison warns that the Trump administration's Artemis Accords and Artemis Moon mission to send NASA astronauts back to the lunar surface could have national security implications for the nations that have signed on as partners.
  • Partnering with NASA, "gives them standing geopolitically," Harrison said. "It also is going to help stimulate their own aerospace industrial base and help counter the influence of China in their regions."

Go deeper: The rise of military space powers

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jan 19, 2021 - Science

The inner lives of galaxies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The finest details of galaxies — from star explosions to halos of dust — are emerging via new techniques that allow scientists to peer deep into these cosmic behemoths.

Why it matters: How galaxies form, grow and change is key to understanding the evolution of the universe as a whole.

Trump gives farewell address: "We did what we came here to do"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump gave a farewell video address on Tuesday, saying that his administration "did what we came here to do — and so much more."

Why it matters, via Axios' Alayna Treene: The address is very different from the Trump we've seen in his final weeks as president — one who has refused to accept his loss, who peddled conspiracy theories that fueled the attack on the Capitol, and who is boycotting his successor's inauguration. 

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

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