Coalition Issues Plan for Ensuring U.S. Leadership in Space

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WASHINGTON (AIAA PR) — A coalition of space organizations today released a joint white paper, “Ensuring U.S. Leadership in Space,” at a National Press Club Newsmaker news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The work highlights and addresses the challenges facing continued U.S. exploration and use of space, and the need for the next administration and Congress to make space policy a priority. The paper offers sensible policy solutions to the four most common challenges that continued space exploration and use efforts face – unpredictable budgeting, foreign competition, the hostile space environment, and workforce trends.

“Through this white paper, 13 organizations have united to send the message that space exploration and use, and the policies that govern them, are critical to the long-term prosperity of our nation,” said Sandy Magnus, AIAA executive director. “If the United States is to remain a leader in the global space endeavor, it is critical that a long-term commitment with resources, backed by a comprehensive strategy, be established. From the outset, the next administration and the new Congress must make space and space policy a priority and strive toward a collective bipartisan vision and plan for U.S. engagement in space. Space touches all of our lives today, everyday, and is interwoven into the fabric of how we live. As such, it should be part of our national conversation during this election year so that every American understands how what happens ‘up there’ matters ‘down here.’”

The coalition lays out several policy proposals, which, if adopted, will help sustain U.S. leadership in space. Among them are: committing to predictable budgets, funding robust investments, promoting innovative partnerships, and repealing the Budget Control Act of 2011; continuing global space engagement through programs like the International Space Station; fully funding the Space Launch System, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, and the Commercial Crew programs; providing increased resources for national security space and launch programs; promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education; retaining U.S.-educated workers; and further reducing barriers to international trade.

Coalition members represent a broad cross section of space interests, companies, and organizations – including aerospace professionals from industry, academia, and government. Members of the coalition include the Aerospace Industries Association, Aerospace States Association, American Astronautical Society, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, Colorado Space Coalition, Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Satellite Industry Association, Silicon Valley Space Business Roundtable, Space Angels Network, Space Florida, Space Foundation, and the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

Download White Paper

Ensuring U.S. Leadership in Space

  • mike_shupp

    Just about the most useless document to ever come down the pike. Basically it asks for a space program just like we have now, only without those worrying budget debates. No call for humans to Mars, or the Moon. No mention of a follow-up to ISS. Nothing about mining asteroids or otherwise exploiting space resources. No specific reference to unmanned planetary spacecraft, nor indeed any planets other than earth. Somehow all this provides LEADERSHIP!

    Man, I could endorse just such a space program — including the claims about Leadership — for North Korea. Or Upper Volta, or Lower Slobbodia.

  • I guess the member companies and organizations of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation still want their little government crumbs too. How … commercial of them.

  • Vladislaw

    From the whitepaper: (this is about SLS/Orion as a pathway and Commercial crew as the second pathway- read with a straight face)

    “There are two complementary, viable pathways to achieving U.S. independence in human space operations and both must be fully funded and vigorously pursued. Both systems expand safety, innovation, scientific research and technology development, and strengthen our industrial base:”

    Does the SLS/Orion come to mind as a viable, innovative tech development systems?

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    The next two closest competitors to the American space policy as it is today is Space X and Blue Origin. That’s a perfect state of affairs for the government sector to be in. I hope nothing changes.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    …. For the shareholders and boards of contractors and the workforces of the NASA facilities? Why …. Yes.

    …. Leadership from the rented halls of the National Press Club in Washington DC, or that shown over the Atlantic Ocean tonight? Take your pick. But that we live in a day when people like this are taken seriously is telling of why we are in the mire that we are.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Its not useless. It gives the Coalition an “accomplishment” to point to when they go out and ask for more donations to keep their rice bowls filled 🙂

  • ThomasLMatula

    They have been assimilated by NASA – Resistance is futile.

  • ThomasLMatula

    One of the overlooked elements of the CSLCA is a provision that gives the SLS the same status as the Shuttle in making it exempt from commercial competition for any mission the Administrator determines. This includes servicing the ISS. So yes, from the NASA viewpoint it is a pathway in competition with COTS/CCP.

  • therealdmt

    I thought the were going to write about the government facilitating the lowering of launch costs, fostering nascent markets, supporting multiple low cost providers, reducing barriers, providing regulatory oversight, Congress continuing to develop a supportive legal framework that reduces uncertainty for private ventures. developing technology for the industry such as NASA does with aviation, and further embracing innovative public-private partnerships (including for exploration) so that NASA can do more with less when it comes to budget.

  • publiusr

    Yes–because we know heavy lift works.
    Capsules work.

    The EM drive crap–maybe not so much. I support SLS–as for the fools that bash SLS–they can jump in the lake.

  • savuporo

    There is a lot of knee jerk bashing here, but if you look at the full range of organizations, including CSF, AIAA, Space Angels – this is a very well rounded group that does speak for US aerospace industry as a whole. I find it very encouraging that they have managed to put out a joint statement with everyone in agreement.
    Yes, it will not have fringe ‘lets open casinos on orbit of Enceladus now’ statements, but its a substantial necessarily moderate political agreement.