Top Future Policy Issues

Top Future Policy Issues

First published May 2013, Crosslink® magazine


Hosted payloads. Further clarification and adjustment can be expected on national policies regarding space transportation and export control as applied to U.S. government payloads flying on commercial satellites and foreign launchers.

International partnering agreements. The design, deployment, and operation of space assets shared with coalition partners must be considered in the context of treaty implications, congressional concerns, and technology transfer.

Space situational awareness. The effort to build on these capabilities and share data must be weighed against trade-offs between greater investment in U.S. systems and teaming arrangements with foreign entities.

Commercial satellite imagery. As commercial and foreign capabilities increase, relevant national policy, statutes, and department policies must keep up with the implications of technical advancement.

Commercial human spaceflight. Should this industry’s regulatory regime be modeled after commercial aviation, or something else? How will the direction of its policies affect current and future government programs in human spaceflight?

Space exploration and development. NASA is developing a new transportation system for human spaceflight. At the same time, the agency is encouraging private-sector advances in human and automated space systems. Should the next wave of activity be driven by destinations, as in the Apollo era, or should it focus on capabilities, like on-orbit servicing and utilization of extraterrestrial resources? How should NASA’s role evolve?

Industrial base and workforce. The space industrial base has not reversed the trend of a shrinking technical workforce and loss of expertise. Is there anything that government policymakers can do to improve the situation? Might the answers be found in government programs, or in the emerging commercial space sector?

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