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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs
program activities can also add significant risk as new operations personnel learn without the benefit of experienced hands.
Robustness. Sufficient human resources and research infrastructure—including public and private institutions and world-class research facilities—need to be maintained to enable the nation to ramp up selected space activities within 1 or 2 years as national needs change or as major unexpected scientific or technical breakthroughs occur.
The committee’s proposed fifth goal—inspiring current and future generations—links the program goals with people who support the civil space program. A program that advances the four program goals but does not stimulate educational opportunities or inspirational moments would fail to achieve the full potential of a strong U.S. civil space program.
The committee firmly believes that the U.S. civil space program can be a tool for addressing many of the challenges facing the nation. A space program that properly addresses the first four goals in a manner that also achieves the fifth will be a significant strategic asset for the nation. And by achieving these goals in support of national interests and in the interests of the world at large, we can also achieve a goal of particular importance—to enhance U.S. strategic leadership.