The Obama Administration released an update of the National Science Transportation Policy last week. The policy was widely praised for emphasizing commercial space transportation while at the same time directing NASA to focus on deep space exploration.
“’The commercial space industry has shown its capacity to be a strong partner to government programs in utilization and exploration of space,’ said CSF President Michael Lopez-Alegria. ‘We appreciate this clear delineation of policy in favor of supporting American industry, creating the most effective and efficient space program possible and ensuring the nation retains its leadership and competitiveness in space. We are grateful for the Obama Administration’s support for the commercial space sector and look forward to many joint successes to come.’”
Coalition for Space Exploration
The Coalition for Space Exploration congratulates the Administration on signing a balanced National Space Transportation Policy allowing NASA to continue to expand domestic commercial space industry access to low Earth orbit, while continuing to develop the heavy lift launch capability needed to take humans to Mars and other deep space destinations. With so many important issues facing our nation’s decision makers, this shows that they have not lost focus on the critical space exploration sector, which has been proven time and time again that it is one of the best investments the government makes for the realized return.
“The space industry at large fosters technology development, spurs economic growth, and inspires youth to attain high-tech careers” said George Torres, chair of the Coalition for Space Exploration. “A balanced approach between government and commercial efforts will help spur innovation and technology development in a more cost-effective manner than ever done before.”
“Boeing applauds the president’s balanced approach to developing affordable commercial crew and cargo transportation in areas of proven technology, while he simultaneously accepts the challenge for the United States – as the world’s leader in space exploration – to go far beyond Earth’s orbit. We have no doubt that this policy will inspire generations of future engineers, scientists, researchers and astronauts.
“As we have for more than 50 years, Boeing supports NASA’s spaceflight endeavors, working with our customer to achieve affordable commercial crew and cargo transportation under NASA’s Commercial Crew program, as well as America’s heavy-lift rocket to beyond Earth orbit, the Space Launch System. We also help to maintain the International Space Station, the cornerstone for both low-Earth-orbit and deep-space exploration. Its unmatched lessons about the effects of long-term space habitation will prove critical to deep space exploration.”
Rep. Donna F. Edwards
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 — The Ranking Democratic Member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee issued the following news release:
Subcommittee on Space Ranking Member Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) said, “I am pleased that there are many similarities between the NASA Authorization Act of 2013 bill I introduced in July and the updated National Space Transportation Policy President Obama signed today. Adopting these shared priorities provides NASA substantive policy direction, including supporting human space transportation beyond low-Earth orbit through the development of a heavy-lift launch vehicle and crew capsule in support of eventual human exploration of Mars; encouraging the development of a NASA-certified U.S. commercial human spaceflight capability to support U.S. government crew transport to and from the International Space Station (ISS); and sustaining research, technology development, and exploration-related capabilities enabled by the ISS facility. In addition, my bill’s recognition of the importance of NASA’s research in remote satellite servicing mirrors the policy’s call for R&D to improve the reliability and cost-effectiveness of current space transportation systems.”
National Space Transportation Policy
The United States has long been a leader in space, and President Obama remains committed to maintaining America’s competitiveness in the aerospace sector. The National Space Transportation Policy the President signed today will ensure that the United States stays on the cutting edge by maintaining space transportation capabilities that are innovative, reliable, efficient, competitive, and affordable, and that support U.S. interests.
More specifically, the policy:
- Supports our domestic aerospace industry. The U.S. government will use commercial space transportation products and services to help fulfill government needs, invest in new and advanced technologies and concepts, and use a broad array of partnerships with industry to promote innovation.
- Helps strengthen our economy and creates high-quality jobs, sustains a high-technology workforce, and ensures the viability and competitiveness of our industrial base by supporting the burgeoning private space sector.
- Encourages partnerships with private industry to put U.S. government instruments on non-governmental spacecraft, which will increase scientific and other capabilities, facilitate access to space, and save taxpayer dollars using arrangements known as “hosted payloads”.
- Reaffirms the importance of assuring U.S. access to space, and directs further research and development (R&D) to improve the reliability, responsiveness, performance, and cost-effectiveness of current and future U.S. space transportation systems.
- Continues progress in support of the bi-partisan plan for space exploration codified in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 by urging development of a heavy-lift launch vehicle and encouraging cooperation with commercial companies to fly NASA astronauts and cargo safely and more cost-effectively to the International Space Station.
- Fosters cooperation with industry to develop guidelines for the development and expansion of the U.S. commercial human spaceflight market.
The policy provides comprehensive guidance to all Federal Departments and Agencies on U.S. priorities and on roles and responsibilities with respect to space transportation issues and programs. It updates and replaces the 2004 U.S. Space Transportation Policy.