Skip to main content

Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration

View Cover

Pathways to Exploration

Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration (2014)
Purchase Options
Purchase Options MyNAP members save 10% online. Login or Register
Overview

Contributors

Description

The United States has publicly funded its human spaceflight program on a continuous basis for more than a half-century, through three wars and a half-dozen recessions, from the early Mercury and Gemini suborbital and Earth orbital missions, to the lunar landings, and thence to the first reusable winged crewed spaceplane that the United States operated for three decades. Today the United States is the major partner in a massive orbital facility - the International Space Station - that is becoming the focal point for the first tentative steps in commercial cargo and crewed orbital space flights. And yet, the long-term future of human spaceflight beyond this project is unclear. Pronouncements by multiple presidents of bold new ventures by Americans to the Moon, to Mars, and to an asteroid in its native orbit, have not been matched by the same commitment that accompanied President Kennedy's now fabled 1961 speech-namely, the substantial increase in NASA funding needed to make it happen. Are we still committed to advancing human spaceflight? What should a long-term goal be, and what does the United States need to do to achieve it?

Pathways to Exploration explores the case for advancing this endeavor, drawing on the history of rationales for human spaceflight, examining the attitudes of stakeholders and the public, and carefully assessing the technical and fiscal realities. This report recommends maintaining the long-term focus on Mars as the horizon goal for human space exploration. With this goal in mind, the report considers funding levels necessary to maintain a robust tempo of execution, current research and exploration projects and the time/resources needed to continue them, and international cooperation that could contribute to the achievement of spaceflight to Mars. According to Pathways to Exploration, a successful U.S. program would require sustained national commitment and a budget that increases by more than the rate of inflation.

In reviving a U.S. human exploration program capable of answering the enduring questions about humanity's destiny beyond our tiny blue planet, the nation will need to grapple with the attitudinal and fiscal realities of the nation today while staying true to a small but crucial set of fundamental principles for the conduct of exploration of the endless frontier. The recommendations of Pathways to Exploration provide a clear map toward a human spaceflight program that inspires students and citizens by furthering human exploration and discovery, while taking into account the long-term commitment necessary to achieve this goal.

Topics

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/18801.

Import this citation to:

Publication Info

279 pages | 8.5 x 11
ISBNs:
  • Paperback: 978-0-309-30507-5
  • Ebook: 978-0-309-30510-5
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/18801
Contents
Resources

Videos

A Brief History of U.S. Human Spaceflight Policy

Asif Siddiqi, a historian of science and technology, describes the major decisions that shaped U.S. human spaceflight in the 20th century.

Pathways to Exploration: Summary of a Report on Human Spaceflight

An abbreviated summary of the report, in the words of the authoring committee's co-chairs.

Rights

Copyright Information

The National Academies Press and the Transportation Research Board have partnered with Copyright Clearance Center to offer a variety of options for reusing our content. You may request permission to:

  • Republish or display in another publication, presentation, or other media
  • Use in print or electronic course materials and dissertations
  • Share electronically via secure intranet or extranet
  • And more

For most Academic and Educational uses no royalties will be charged although you are required to obtain a license and comply with the license terms and conditions.

Click here to obtain permission for Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration.

Translation and Other Rights

For information on how to request permission to translate our work and for any other rights related query please click here.

Copyright.com Customer Service

For questions about using the Copyright.com service, please contact:

Copyright Clearance Center
22 Rosewood Drive
Danvers, MA 01923
Tel (toll free): 855/239-3415 (select option 1)
E-mail: info@copyright.com
Web: https://www.copyright.com
Stats

Loading stats for Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration...