Praise for Space Policy Directive 1

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Praise is pouring in for Space Policy Directive 1, the Trump Administration’s document that focuses the nation’s civilian space program on returning astronauts to the moon.

Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (Coalition) welcomes Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1) signed today by President Trump, formalizing the commitment made by the Administration during the first meeting of the National Space Council to reinvigorate America’s deep space exploration program. The signing ceremony in the White House West Wing was attended by Coalition President and CEO Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar together with the President, Vice President, members of Congress, NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and NASA astronauts – including Dr. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who together with the late Captain Eugene Cernan were the last Americans to visit the Moon during Apollo 17 exactly 45 years ago.

“After 45 years, it is time to return humans to the region of the Moon even as we look toward Mars,” Dr. Dittmar said. “The Coalition is proud to support NASA and to help bring about this exciting future. We congratulate the Trump Administration on its bold vision and commitment to American leadership in space.”

“Human space exploration expands the frontiers of knowledge and experience, and represents the best of humankind,” she continued. “This Presidential Directive affirms U.S. leadership in human space exploration, returning American astronauts to the region of the Moon, while laying the foundation for eventual missions to Mars and beyond. It is fitting that the signing ceremony occurs on the 45th anniversary of landing the last men on the moon – Dr. Schmitt and the late Captain Cernan, who made it his life’s work to ensure that Americans would return to deep space. NASA’s flagship programs for human space exploration – the Orion crew vehicle and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket – supported by ongoing research on human health and performance conducted on the International Space Station – will take a major step to fulfilling this vision beginning with Exploration Mission 1 targeted for late 2019.”

“The Coalition and its 70 member companies enthusiastically support American leadership back to the Moon, exemplified by Orion, SLS and key exploration capabilities like the Deep Space Gateway. In addition to human exploration, these missions will open opportunities for a wide range of stakeholders in science and commerce, and will strengthen and extend U.S. relationships with our international partners. Together with public private partnerships such as NASA’s NextSTEP program that is developing technologies for deep space habitats, and the Lunar CATALYST program that is advancing robotic landers, these activities will inevitably lead to new achievements in human exploration, lunar and planetary science, and to the growth of the human economic sphere, beginning in Low Earth Orbit and expanding outward to eventually encompass the lunar region and beyond.”

Commercial Spaceflight Federation

“CSF applauds President Trump for signing Space Policy Directive 1, which directs NASA to partner with the U.S. commercial space industry to return Americans to the Moon,” said Eric Stallmer, President of CSF. “The U.S. commercial space industry has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in private capital to develop innovative capabilities for lunar transport, operations, and resource utilization, leading to many lower cost innovative approaches that can benefit this new era of lunar exploration. CSF urges the Administration to direct NASA to leverage these capabilities to generate greater efficiency and quicker solutions, and to partner with industry through flexible, innovative contracting approaches, to accelerate progress towards achieving the goals set out in Space Policy Directive 1.”

Aerospace Industries Association

The Aerospace Industries Association welcomes President Trump’s announcement today establishing new policy framework for NASA’s exploration program focused on humans returning to the moon as the first step towards exploring Mars and the solar system. We strongly urge President Trump and Congress to work together to ensure this ambitious initiative is supported with the sustained funding necessary to achieve success.

“The aerospace and defense industry continues to support NASA’s human space exploration mission,” said AIA President and CEO David F. Melcher. “On the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 mission, it’s particularly appropriate to note the strong, sustained partnership between government and industry that enables our drive to explore the cosmos. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to achieve these important goals.”

Today’s announcement formalizes the recommendation issued by the National Space Council – chaired by Vice President Pence – in October. It acknowledges the strategic importance of cislunar space as a stepping stone to advance human space exploration further into the solar system. AIA and its member companies have long advocated for policies that assure America’s 21st century space competitiveness. This announcement is an important milestone in that priority.

“This announcement gives us a strong, decisive direction for America’s human space exploration program,” Melcher said. “Today’s dream fuels tomorrow’s reality and builds hope for the future. That vision is key to unleashing industry’s innovation and imagination, and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

The aerospace and defense industry employs 2.4 million people in the United States – constituting fully 13% of the U.S. manufacturing base – and has the opportunity to continue attracting America’s best and brightest to its workforce of high-skill, high-wage jobs with the promise of a continued drive to space.

Astrobotic Technology

Astrobotic applauds today’s White House commemoration of the 45th anniversary of Apollo 17, the last American mission to have soft-landed on the Moon, and commends the President’s signing of an executive order to return America to the Moon. Astrobotic CEO John Thornton made the following remarks in reaction to today’s events.

“Apollo 17 was an important scientific and exploration mission, but it also served as a challenge to all Americans, beckoning us to return to the Moon following the close of the Apollo Program. Astrobotic applauds the President’s leadership in signing today’s executive order to make that a reality, and I’m proud to say our lander service is poised to be central to America’s return to the Moon.

As we prepare to return American boots to the surface, the next American footprints on the Moon will be robotic – and they will be from America’s Rust Belt. As highlighted in testimony before Congress in September, Astrobotic has been hard at work developing low-cost, lunar delivery service, and has led the world with 11-deals for our first mission. Astrobotic represents America’s most credible and near-term opportunity to return to the Moon.

A significant enabler of this progress has been our partnership with NASA through the leadership of the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) program and the Lunar CATALYST Program. Lunar CATALYST has provided us access to some of the best expertise in the industry, and simultaneously provided NASA deep insight into our Peregrine Lunar Lander program. NASA’s stated intent to buy services from the commercial lunar delivery industry is a foundational step toward landing the first NASA payloads on the Moon since Apollo 17, and paving the way for the development of capabilities to support a human return.

The emergence of American robotic lunar landers will provide the U.S. with access to the lunar surface for the first time in more than 45-years. In fact, Astrobotic recommends NASA respond with a “Lunar Surge” of science, technology and robotic exploration missions to rapidly expand our presence on the Moon with robotic landers starting in 2020 to ensure a robust American presence across key areas of the Lunar surface, in advance of a human return. Such a surge could be done within existing budget profile by taking advantage of privately-developed lunar landers like Peregrine, without deviating resources from other critical development programs and exploration capabilities, like the Deep Space Gateway.

This “surge” could demonstrate America’s unparalleled access to the Moon’s surface, and explore the Moon’s resource and shelter potential to enable the long-term presence of astronauts. With a sustained surge campaign of robotic precursor missions, America can prospect for water ice at the lunar poles, evaluate the habitability of lunar lava tubes (caves), test the peaks of persistent light as a power source, and get a firm grasp of how to make use of the Moon to propel exploration. These robotic missions could carry the American flag to multiple destinations that have never been explored by any country, and once again take up the mantle of exploration that Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt heroically led in 1972.

We look forward to continuing our work with NASA through public-private partnerships that bring America back to the Moon. Today’s event highlights exactly the kind of bold action needed to restore American leadership on the Moon. Astrobotic’s Rust Belt workforce stands ready to deliver.”