Credit: The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy

Even for technical experts in one of the many scientific and engineering disciplines central to space activity, it can be hard to make sense of how underlying policy direction is fundamentally shaping the art of the possible.

That’s the premise behind a newly issued primer that concisely identifies key concepts, issues, and organizational actors involved in space policy. Furthermore, a number of difficult policy questions face the United States and other spacefaring nations.

How should goals be defined for the next chapter in space exploration, commercialization, and security?

Space policy essentials

The document — Space Policy Primer: Key Concepts, Issues, and Actors — has been issued by The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy, written by James Alver and Michael Gleason.

“This primer lays out the essentials on the participants and processes of space policy, with minimal jargon and acronyms,” explains Jamie Morin, Executive Director of the Center for Space Policy and Strategy. “We hope this primer becomes a useful reference document for everyone from space policy novices to those with extensive experience with space issues.”

NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson, Expedition 24 flight engineer, looks through a window in the Cupola of the International Space Station. A blue and white part of Earth and the blackness of space are visible through the windows.
Credit: NASA


While the primer is somewhat U.S.-centric, it reflects the global environment and should be useful for non-U.S. observers seeking to understand the complexities of U.S. space policy, Morin adds.

The primer contents include looks at rationales for spaceflight, international space law and international organizations, civil, commercial and national security space, as well as national cross-cutting issues.

For the document, go to:

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