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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

Jan 29, 2021 - Podcasts

When investing goes viral

You've likely heard the headlines this week about the stock market mania around GameStop. But this isn't just about the stock market. It's a kind of populist uprising borne of the Internet.

  • Plus, what’s behind GM’s big electric vehicle announcement.
  • And, the new Wild West is in outer space.
Miriam Kramer, author of Space
3 hours ago - Science

All-civilian Inspiration4 is back on Earth after flight to space

A side-by-side of the Inspiration4 crew and a shot of their capsule on the way back to Earth. Photo: SpaceX

The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew is back on Earth after their three-day mission in orbit.

The big picture: The launch and landing of this fully amateur, private space crew marks a changing of the guard from spaceflight being a largely government-led venture to being under the purview of private companies.

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

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