US Launches a New Space Policy

By Gwynne, Peter | Research-Technology Management, September-October 2018 | Go to article overview

US Launches a New Space Policy


Gwynne, Peter, Research-Technology Management


In the four and a half decades since the Apollo 17 astronauts left the Moon, public and private activity in space has boomed. Scientific missions have ventured to and radioed back data from the farthest edges of our solar system. Orbiting telescopes have revealed images of stars and galaxies created soon after the Big Bang. More than 1,000 operational satellites--more than 800 of them American--orbit the Earth. Astronauts have occupied the International Space Station (ISS) continuously since the year 2000. Entrepreneurs have started to sell tickets for tourism journeys into orbit. And the global space economy is more than a third of the way to becoming a trillion-dollar endeavor. Yet in all that time, no human has set foot on the Moon, nor has there been any plan for such an expedition--until now.

As it unveils its space policy, the Trump administration has made clear that its space ambitions center on lunar landings for business as well as prestige. "We will return NASA astronauts to the Moon--not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond," Vice President Mike Pence said last November as he chaired the first meeting of a revivified National Space Council.

Details of the venture remain to be established. The task of determining how and when to establish a lunar colony will fall to Jim Bridenstine, the former Republican congressman from Oklahoma whom the Senate confirmed as NASA's new administrator in April. It will add to the impressive list of issues Bridenstine faces in his new post. The agency currently has no manned launch capacity of its own; it must rely on Russian and commercial spacecraft to carry astronauts and crew to the ISS. Bridenstine must decide whether to continue to support the ISS or, perhaps, transfer it to private management. He must manage development of major orbiting observatories such as the James Webb Space Telescope, the bigger and better successor to the Hubble, and the Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope, both of which have a worrying tendency to launch late and over budget. And he must develop ways of operating alongside a commercial American space sector that has heavily financed ambitions of its own. All of these issues must be resolved in the context of the Trump administration's emerging space policy.

The Trump administration began to outline its approach to space several months before Bridenstine's appointment. In June 2017, it reinstated the Space Council, a White House organization abandoned in 1993 after disagreements between the George H. W. Bush White House and NASA. As its first actions, the new council set the foundation for three policy directives that outline the administration's approach to space issues.

The first directive, signed by President Donald Trump last December, calls on NASA to "lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities." The directive, Trump said, "marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use." It will also "establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars." The policy stands in contrast to that of the Obama administration, which envisioned activity in the space between Earth and Moon as a test bed for technology to support manned Martian missions.

The second directive, issued in May, builds on the first via a signature approach of the Trump administration: deregulation. According to a White House fact sheet, the directive aims to ensure "that the federal government gets out of the way and unleashes private enterprise to support the economic success of the United States." To do so, it instructs the Secretaries of Transportation and Commerce to set up a regulatory system to manage launches and reentries of spacecraft and to simplify the licensing of commercial spaceflight. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

US Launches a New Space Policy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.