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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs AMERICA’S FUTURE IN SPACE ALIGNING THE CIVIL SPACE PROGRAM WITH NATIONAL NEEDS Committee on the Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program Space Studies Board Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by funding from the National Research Council. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-14036-2 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-14036-6 Cover: Cover design by Tim Warchocki. All images courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Copies of this report are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs OTHER REPORTS OF THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD AND THE AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World: Summary of a Workshop (Space Studies Board [SSB] and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2009) Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Mars Sample Return Missions (SSB, 2009) A Performance Assessment of NASA’s Heliophysics Program (SSB, 2009) Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration (SSB with ASEB, 2009) Assessing the Research and Development Plan for the Next Generation Air Transportation System: Summary of a Workshop (ASEB, 2008) A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program (ASEB, 2008) Ensuring the Climate Record from the NPOESS and GOES-R Spacecraft: Elements of a Strategy to Recover Measurement Capabilities Lost in Program Restructuring (SSB, 2008) Final Report of the Committee for the Review of Proposals to the 2008 Engineering Research and Commercialization Program of the Ohio Third Frontier Program (ASEB, 2008) Final Report of the Committee to Review Proposals to the 2008 Ohio Research Scholars Program of the State of Ohio (ASEB, 2008) Launching Science: Science Opportunities Provided by NASA’s Constellation System (SSB with ASEB, 2008) Managing Space Radiation Risk in the New Era of Space Exploration (ASEB, 2008) NASA Aeronautics Research: An Assessment (ASEB, 2008) Opening New Frontiers in Space: Choices for the Next New Frontiers Announcement of Opportunity (SSB, 2008) Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program: An Interim Report (ASEB, 2008) Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA’s Constellation System: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2008) Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report (SSB, 2008) Space Science and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Summary of a Workshop (SSB, 2008) United States Civil Space Policy: Summary of a Workshop (SSB with ASEB, 2008) Wake Turbulence: An Obstacle to Increased Air Traffic Capacity (ASEB, 2008)
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs Assessment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (SSB, 2007) An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars (SSB with the Board on Life Sciences [BLS], 2007) Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration (SSB with ASEB, 2007) Decadal Science Strategy Surveys: Report of a Workshop (SSB, 2007) Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond (SSB, 2007) Exploring Organic Environments in the Solar System (SSB with the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, 2007) Grading NASA’s Solar System Exploration Program: A Midterm Review (SSB, 2007) The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems (SSB with BLS, 2007) NASA’s Beyond Einstein Program: An Architecture for Implementation (SSB with the Board on Physics and Astronomy [BPA], 2007) Options to Ensure the Climate Record from the NPOESS and GOES-R Spacecraft: A Workshop Report (SSB, 2007) A Performance Assessment of NASA’s Astrophysics Program (SSB with BPA, 2007) Portals to the Universe: The NASA Astronomy Science Centers (SSB, 2007) The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon (SSB, 2007) Limited copies of SSB reports are available free of charge from Space Studies Board National Research Council The Keck Center of the National Academies 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001 (202) firstname.lastname@example.org www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs COMMITTEE ON THE RATIONALE AND GOALS OF THE U.S. CIVIL SPACE PROGRAM LESTER L. LYLES, Consultant (U.S. Air Force, retired), Chair RAYMOND S. COLLADAY, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), Vice Chair LENNARD A. FISK, University of Michigan, Vice Chair JAY APT, Carnegie Mellon University JAMES B. ARMOR, JR., ATK Space Systems WANDA M. AUSTIN, The Aerospace Corporation DAVID BALTIMORE, California Institute of Technology ROBERT BEDNAREK, SES AMERICOM/NEW SKIES JOSEPH A. BURNS, Cornell University PIERRE CHAO, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Renaissance Strategic Advisors KENNETH S. FLAMM, University of Texas, Austin JOAN JOHNSON-FREESE. U.S. Naval War College PAUL D. NIELSEN, Carnegie Mellon University MICHAEL S. TURNER, University of Chicago THOMAS H. VONDER HAAR, Colorado State University Staff JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Co-Study Director, Space Studies Board (SSB) BRIAN D. DEWHURST, Co-Study Director, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator, SSB CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Editor, SSB and ASEB LEWIS GROSWALD, Research Associate, SSB VICTORIA SWISHER, Research Associate, SSB
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs SPACE STUDIES BOARD CHARLES F. KENNEL, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, Chair A. THOMAS YOUNG, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), Vice Chair DANIEL N. BAKER, University of Colorado STEVEN J. BATTEL, Battel Engineering CHARLES L. BENNETT, Johns Hopkins University YVONNE C. BRILL, Aerospace Consultant ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory ANDREW B. CHRISTENSEN, Dixie State College and Aerospace Corporation ALAN DRESSLER, The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution JACK D. FELLOWS, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research FIONA A. HARRISON, California Institute of Technology JOAN JOHNSON-FREESE, U.S. Naval War College KLAUS KEIL, University of Hawaii MOLLY K. MACAULEY, Resources for the Future BERRIEN MOORE III, University of New Hampshire ROBERT T. PAPPALARDO, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology JAMES PAWELCZYK, Pennsylvania State University SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN, University of California, Irvine JOAN VERNIKOS, Thirdage LLC JOSEPH F. VEVERKA, Cornell University WARREN M. WASHINGTON, National Center for Atmospheric Research CHARLES E. WOODWARD, University of Minnesota ELLEN G. ZWEIBEL, University of Wisconsin RICHARD E. ROWBERG, Interim Director (from March 2, 2009) MARCIA S. SMITH, Director (until March 1, 2009)
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD RAYMOND S. COLLADAY, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), Chair CHARLES F. BOLDEN, JR., Jack and Panther, LLC1 ANTHONY J. BRODERICK, Aviation Safety Consultant AMY BUHRIG, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group PIERRE CHAO, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Renaissance Strategic Advisors INDERJIT CHOPRA, University of Maryland, College Park ROBERT L. CRIPPEN, Thiokol Propulsion (retired) DAVID GOLDSTON, Harvard University R. JOHN HANSMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology PRESTON HENNE, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation JOHN M. KLINEBERG, Space Systems/Loral (retired) RICHARD KOHRS, Independent Consultant IVETT LEYVA, Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base EDMOND SOLIDAY, United Airlines (retired) RICHARD E. ROWBERG, Interim Director (from March 2, 2009) MARCIA S. SMITH, Director (through March 1, 2009) 1 Major General Bolden became NASA administrator on July 17, 2009, after writing and review of this report was completed.
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs Preface Civil space activities have blossomed over the 50 years since President Eisenhower authorized an Earth satellite program as part of the International Geophysical Year. The civil space program now includes important components in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), numerous other federal departments and agencies, academia, and private and commercial entities. A substantial national security space program preceded the civil space program and has continued to be developed concurrently in support of U.S. military and intelligence-gathering activities. Formal policies to guide the civil space program have been established over the same period via executive orders and via legislation built on the 1958 NASA Enabling Act and other congressional directions for executive branch departments and agencies. This guidance has included continued emphasis on federal support for scientific research; development and operation of advanced space technologies and systems; establishment of a U.S. space operations infrastructure and industrial base; application of space technology to measurements of Earth and its environment and for the provision of other societal benefits; exploration of outer space; and the utilization of space activities in support of U.S. commercial, educational, and foreign-policy objectives. Major policy decisions have led to commitments to the Apollo program for human exploration of the Moon, the space shuttle and International Space Station programs for human spaceflight, the Viking and Voyager planetary missions, the Great Observatories program, Mission to Planet Earth, and the 2004 vision for human and robotic space exploration. As civil space policies and programs have evolved, the geopolitical environment has changed dramatically. Although the U.S. space program was originally
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs driven in large part by competition with the Soviet Union, the nation now finds itself in a post-Cold War world in which many nations have established, or are aspiring to develop, independent space capabilities. Furthermore, in the United States and globally, discoveries from developments in the first 50 years of the space age have led to an explosion of scientific and engineering knowledge and practical applications of space technology. Space activities now play critical roles in commerce, government, and science, and indeed the pervasiveness of space capabilities in the everyday lives of individual citizens is so encompassing that things we take for granted would not be possible without space technology. Federal responsibility for civil space activities now reaches across many federal agencies. For several decades, the private sector has also been developing, fielding, and expanding the commercial use of space-based technology and systems. Such private sector activities have enhanced our lives and provided capabilities for both people and commercial enterprises that could not have been dreamed of a few decades ago. Private sector space activities are likely to continue to expand beneficially in the decades ahead. Recognizing the new national and international context for space activities, the National Research Council established the Committee on the Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program (see Appendix A for biographies of committee members) and charged it to prepare a report to advise the nation on key goals and critical issues in 21st-century U.S. civil space policy.1 The committee was asked to do the following: Identify overarching goals that are important for our national interest. Identify issues that are critically important to achieving these goals and ensuring the future progress of the U.S. civil space program. Recommend actions to address unresolved issues. Explore a possible long-term future for U.S. civil space activities that is built upon lessons learned and past successes; is based on realistic expectations of future resources; and is credible scientifically, technically, and politically.2 During the course of its study, the committee heard from representatives of the Department of Defense, the FAA, NASA, NOAA, and the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics and from experts in areas such as space policy, journalism and public education, Earth science and applications, human space exploration, advanced technology development, commercial space, and national security. See Appendix C for the full agendas of 1 The committee considered “civil space” to include all government, commercial, academic, and private space activities not directly intended for military or intelligence use. The committee did not include NASA’s aeronautics program as an element of civil space. An extended discussion of this definition appears in Chapter 1. 2 See Appendix B for the full statement of task for this study.
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs the committee’s meetings. In addition, the committee invited comments and suggestions on topics relevant to its charge from the general public and from many nongovernment organizations. See Appendix D for a summary of the committee’s outreach efforts and for highlights of responses from the public. This report presents the study committee’s conclusions, recommendations, and supporting material. In responding to its charge, the committee sought to provide a long-term, strategic perspective that frames a vision for civil space activities that can endure for many years. Consequently, this report does not address nearer-term issues that confront U.S. space activities other than to provide a long-term context in which more tactical decisions might be made.
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: James G. Anderson, Harvard University, Charles F. Bolden, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps (retired), Jack and Panther, LLC,1 Franklin R. Chang Diaz, Ad Astra Rocket Company, Robert A. Frosch, Harvard University, David Goldston, Harvard University, Charles F. Kennel, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, John M. Klineberg, Space Systems/Loral (retired), Ivett A. Leyva, Air Force Research Laboratory, Richard A. McCray, University of Colorado, Howard E. McCurdy, American University, Irwin I. Shapiro, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 1 Major General Bolden became NASA administrator on July 17, 2009, after writing and review of this report was completed.
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs Alton D. Slay, Slay Enterprises Inc., and Derek Webber, Spaceport Associates. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Peter M. Banks, Astrolabe Venture Partners. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs Contents SUMMARY 1 1 FROM SPUTNIK AND APOLLO TO TODAY’S GLOBALIZED ENVIRONMENT 9 Evolving Space Policy in a New Global Environment, 10 The U.S. Civil Space Program, 12 2 GOALS FOR U.S. CIVIL SPACE ACTIVITIES 15 Apply Space Research and Technology to Stewardship of Earth, 17 Seek Knowledge of the Universe and Search for Life Beyond Earth, 21 Expand the Frontiers of Human Activities in Space, 27 Provide Technological, Economic, and Societal Benefits, 30 Inspire Current and Future Generations, 37 Enhance U.S. Strategic Leadership, 42 Balancing Support for Multiple Goals, 46 3 FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENTS 49 Aligning the Nation’s Space Activities, 50 Highly Capable Technical Workforce, 53 Infrastructure, 54 Technology and Innovation, 56 Summary Comments, 57
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs 4 RECOMMENDATIONS 59 Addressing National Imperatives, 59 Climate and Environmental Monitoring, 60 Scientific Inquiry, 60 Advanced Space Technology, 61 International Cooperation, 62 Human Spaceflight, 63 Organizing to Meet National Needs, 63 Recommendations in Context, 65 APPENDIXES A Committee Member and Staff Biographies 69 B Statement of Task 77 C Meeting Agendas 79 D Committee Outreach and Public Responses 85