NASA’s Artemis program.
Credit: NASA

 

The White House National Space Council has released a report on Deep Space Exploration and Development in consultation with the Council’s members and its Users’ Advisory Group. It describes the rationale and purpose for the Administration’s new direction in space.

 

Whole of government approach

“‘A New Era for Deep Space Exploration and Development’ represents a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach to this Administration’s ambitious space exploration efforts, providing a vision for a sustained human presence on, and the robust commercial development of, the Moon and Mars,” said Executive Secretary of the National Space Council, Scott Pace.

Credit: NASA

“This report describes how and why the United States will proceed with deep space exploration,” Pace adds in a press statement, “delineating the strategic interests and specific programs that underpin America’s position as the world’s leader among spacefaring nation.”

Report highlights

The newly issued report delves into the commercialization of low-Earth orbit; returning to the Moon to stay; extending a human presence to Mars; the potential for deep space science; and education and the U.S. workforce.

The success of American space exploration and development in this new era, the report stresses, will require a whole-of-government approach.

Five primary government roles are crucial to executing the vision described in the report:

— Promote a secure and predictable space environment for the long-term sustainability of space activities;

— Support the development of commercial activity and industry in space;

— Support research and development of new space technologies;

— With commercial and international partners, create infrastructure needed for space exploration and development; and

— Support advanced space research by public and private sector U.S. research communities.

Credit: Blue Origin/Blue Moon

Commercial firms

The report explains that, “as soon as possible, and in accordance with the
Executive Order on “Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources”, commercial firms should take over routine operations to provide consumables like water, hydrogen, oxygen, and utilities such as power and communications. The transition to private sector responsibilities will represent an important step beyond space exploration to development and industrialization.”

Credit: JAXA

International partners

“As the United States journeys into deep space again,” the report explains, “it will do so with commercial and international partners as they are willing to participate and capable of participating.”

“At the frontiers of exploration, the United States will continue to lead, as it has always done, in space. If humanity does have a future in space, it should be one in which space is the home of free people,” the report concludes.

For the full report, go to:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/A-New-Era-for-Space-Exploration-and-Development-07-23-2020.pdf

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