Obama rockets to space with new policy

Administration releases National Space Policy

The Obama administration has released a new policy for space exploration that calls for maintaining and enhancing space-based positioning, navigation, and timing systems, and protecting access to the radiofrequency spectrum.

The National Space Policy for the United States of America lays out high-level goals for the national space program. The administration wants to give a boost to competitive domestic industries that work with satellites and U.S. space launches, expand international cooperation, pursue initiatives that will lead to innovative technologies and improve abilities to observe the earth and sun from space.

The policy also says that the United States shall provide continuous worldwide access, for peaceful purposes, to the Global Positioning System and engage with non-U.S. global navigation systems providers to encourage compatibility and interoperability.

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According to the policy, NASA will be expected to:

  • Set far-reaching milestones and begin crewed missions beyond the moon by 2025 and by the mid-2030s send humans to orbit Mars and safely back to Earth;
  • Continue working with international partners on the International Space Station to 2020 or beyond;
  • Put in place a space technology development and test program;
  • Do research and development on next-generation launch systems such as new U.S.rocket engine technologies;
  • Maintain a sustained robotic presence in the solar system and;
  • Work with other agencies to enhance the U.S. global climate change research and monitoring.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will:

  • Transition mature research and development observation satellites into long-term operations;.
  • Harness international partnerships to sustain weather, climate, ocean observation from space.

NASA, NOAA, and the head of the U.S. Geological Survey should ensure that civilian agencies’ efforts aren’t unnecessarily duplicated.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department and the Director of National Intelligence will be required to:

  • Reinvigorate U.S. leadership by promoting technology development, improving industrial capacity;
  • Develop and apply advanced technologies and capabilities that respond to changes to the threat environment.

In a statement, President Barack Obama said space-based technology is central to national security because it allows for the U.S. to communicate more effectively, operate with greater precision, and better protect people in military service. He also said the U.S. is no longer racing against an adversary in space and one of the central goals of the policy is to promote peaceful cooperation in space.

“In addition, this policy recognizes that as our reliance on satellites and other space-based technologies increases, so too does our responsibility to address challenges such as debris and other hazards,” Obama said. “No longer is space just a destination to reach; it is a place where we must be able to work in ways that are responsible, sustainable, and safe.”


About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Cyber. Covered.

Government Cyber Insider tracks the technologies, policies, threats and emerging solutions that shape the cybersecurity landscape.


Reader comments

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 Joseph Hiddink Ajax, Ontario, Canada

The President has nicely been brainwashed by the proponents of rocket propulsion.It would cost so much more than the technology of the UFO, which I discovered, patented and suggested the Nasa in 1980.The Propulsion Engineers in Cleveland, Ohio were against it.Who would need them if a Shuttle could come off the groun without rockets, using VTOL and fly with a constant acceleration/braking force of ONE G to the ISS in one hour or to the Moon in a couple of hours? All that would be accomplished safely with the inherent forcefield of the technolgy that would protect CREW and Shuttle from collisions and radiation. "Not interested, thank you for the copy of your Patent!" After the Space Disasters they decided to play with it, did not contact me for advice and caused another disaster. They blew the Power Transformer Station on their grounds to bits, zapped all the computers and cellphones, damaged the radar and blamed the ensuing big Black-out on a little tree. Then Nasa decided that they were the "experts" and decided to stick to rockets. The Russians have already decided that Rockets were not the way to go to deep Space. Mr. Bolden has been informed of all this. Look for the Russians or India to be interested in this and leave the USA Low and Dry. Smart brainwashers at Nasa though.

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 NT

When Reagan debated Carter, he stated we were "second to one." Now after deregulation, small government, and lower taxes for the upper 3% and 3 out of last 4 presidents being Republican, and 30 years of "free market" fundamentalism, gubmint baaad, we have improved to the point of being second TO EVERYONE! Way to go USA! Ain't destroying a country fun?

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 Scott Los Angeles

These are all admirable expectations for NASA and NOAA. I only hope they become real goals, properly funded, properly executed, and not just promises with no intent to realize them.

Tue, Jun 29, 2010

The U.S. space program put us on the moon in the 1960s and 50 years later it may do it again. The U.S. is not going to lead the world in space exporation.We are no longer leaders just followers.

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