The recently released National Space Policy of the United States of America sets an agenda for the principals and priorities of our country in the exploration of the final frontier: space. Signed by President Trump and released December 2020, the new policy replaces what was last updated in 2010 and affirms America’s commitment to the neutral exploration of space.
Overall, the policy takes a “better together” approach on the exploration of space. From its introductory statement: “The United States will create an environment that energizes our industry to create innovative commercial approaches that will carry and sustain our next generation of explorers and entrepreneurs on the Moon and then on to Mars and beyond.” According to the policy, a major part of accomplishing these plans hinges on the United States’ ability to work with allies to “identify areas of mutual interest and benefit – including collective self-defense and the promotion of secure and resilient space systems and space-related infrastructure.”
Needless to say there is a lot to digest in those statements alone (read the full policy here) — but the main takeaway is that the U.S. is shooting for the stars, and how we engage our “allies” in getting there will no doubt differ under President Biden compared to President Trump.
Included below are five goals of the most telling goals from the National Space Policy of the United States of America policy that we think shows where we are going and how we plan to get there.
The United States will:
- Encourage and uphold the rights of nations to use space responsibly and peacefully by developing and implementing diplomatic, economic, and security capabilities and strategies to identify and respond to behaviors that threaten those rights.
- Preserve and expand United States leadership in the development of innovative space technologies, services, and operations. Work with likeminded international and private partners, to prevent the transfer of sensitive space capabilities to those who threaten the interests of the United States, its allies, and its supporting industrial base.
- Extend human economic activity into deep space by establishing a permanent human presence on the Moon, and, in cooperation with private industry and international partners, develop infrastructure and services that will enable science driven exploration, space resource utilization, and human missions to Mars.
- Increase the assurance of national critical functions enabled by commercial, civil, scientific, and national security spacecraft and supporting infrastructure against disruption, degradation, and destruction through the development and fielding of materiel and non-materiel capabilities and rehearsal of continuity of operations practices.
- Promote and incentivize private industry to facilitate the creation of new global and domestic markets for United States space goods and services, and strengthen and preserve the position of the United States as the global partner of choice for international space commerce.
What do you think? Is the U.S. ready to explore the final frontier?
A version of this article originally appeared in the January 2021 issue of POB Magazine.