Center for Space Policy and Strategy
Charting a Broad and Sustainable Space Policy
Space is a dynamic environment. New participants, new opportunities, new technologies, and new threats are growing exponentially. Navigating this complex domain requires both experience and vision.
To better support our key customers across the nation’s space enterprise, we are leveraging nearly six decades of experience to provide a trusted, nonpartisan perspective on space policy and strategy. Our goal is to ensure that space policy decisions are well-grounded in fact. Our mission is to apply our highly respected technical expertise and unquestioned objectivity to help decisionmakers explore the full implications of any policy proposal.
Increasingly, the lines are being blurred between the public and private sectors and between international collaborators and competitors. If you need to steer a straight course through this shifting landscape, we can help you succeed.
Satellites operate in a vacuum; policy makers do not. The policy papers presented here are designed to provide context and points of consideration for important space and technology topics. This library will be expanded and updated on a continuing basis.
Policy and Strategy – Commercial
Updating National Policy on Commercial Remote Sensing
The current U.S. commercial remote sensing policy was not designed to accommodate the number, the increasing capabilities, the diverse applications, and the expanding array of global operators of modern remote sensing satellite systems. A revised presidential directive could provide needed guidance on the government’s treatment of satellite imagery and related hardware, software, and value-added services marketed to commercial and foreign entities.
International Commercial Spaceflight Regulation: Assessing the Options
Analysts have begun to address commercial spaceflight regulation, asking questions such as: Does this emerging industry need something akin to the International Civil Aviation Organization? If so, how soon is it needed, what would it look like, and what should be within its jurisdiction?
Policy and Strategy – Civil
Global Satellite Data for Local Environmental Monitoring: Challenges and Opportunities
Europe’s Sentinel-5 satellite will monitor atmospheric gases such as methane and carbon dioxide. The United States can optimize its use of low-resolution Sentinel-5 data by augmenting it with high-resolution air and surface monitoring. This paper outlines an approach to validating and applying environmental data from Sentinel-5.
Policy and Strategy – General
Considerations for the Next National Space Policy
Over the past four decades, presidential directives on national space policy, with the intent of providing overarching guidance on civil, commercial, and national security space, have become standard. A new policy directive could simply reiterate many long-held positions—or set new directions and settle unanswered questions.
Orbital Debris Remediation Through International Engagement
Orbital debris constitutes a serious and growing threat to space operations. As technical barriers to on-orbit cleanup are overcome, political and legal barriers will loom larger. Nonetheless, it is possible to surmount these barriers within the current environment of international treaties and norms.
Near-Term Space Support for Arctic Operations
Gaps in satellite coverage above 70 degrees north need to be filled to support increasing U.S. operations in the Arctic region. The United States will have to act quickly to stay ahead of projected increases in shipping traffic, resource exploitation, and potential territorial issues among Arctic nations.
Orbital Slots for Everyone?
Vast constellations of satellites bring greater risk for collisions and the creation of debris—and no organization is responsible for assessing how they may impact the broader space community. In a future world of megaconstellations, is the unregulated status quo for orbit selection a sustainable path?
National Space Council: History and Potential
Since the dawn of the Space Age, most presidential administrations have had some form of space advisory group. A space council in the Executive Office of the President can be a boon if it works well—aligning policy and strategy across the civil, commercial, and defensive space sectors to serve national interests—or a wasteful exercise if it doesn’t.
About the Center
The Aerospace Corporation established the Center for Space Policy and Strategy in 2000 as a Center of Excellence for civil, commercial, and national space policy. Recently, the Center was expanded to address the growing need for expert analysis to ensure the development of well-informed, technically defensible, and forward-looking space and technology policy. The Center does not advocate for particular policies, but rather identifies areas that would benefit from a stronger policy focus and provides objective analysis and data to support key decisionmakers.
The nation’s space enterprise is facing tremendous change, driven by technology advancements, entrepreneurial investments, new business models, rapidly changing threats, and a new political landscape. With nearly 60 years of experience in national security space, The Aerospace Corporation is unique in its ability to apply the analytical skills, technical expertise, and institutional memory needed to address these challenges from a policy basis.
The Center for Space Policy and Strategy is supported by numerous organizations within The Aerospace Corporation, each with particular expertise of interest to policy makers.
Project West Wing was established in 1957 by the U.S. Air Force as a response to the emerging Cold War Soviet ballistic missile and space threats of the time. The initial Project West Wing staff became part of The Aerospace Corporation when it was founded in 1960. For sixty years, Project West Wing has sustained its original mission of technical intelligence research and analysis in support of national security space and related missions. That includes strategic and global awareness counsel to a broad portfolio of national agencies responsible for defense, homeland security, intelligence, diplomacy, and commerce. In particular, as the counterpart to the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) Director of Intelligence, Project West Wing serves both the program offices and the commanders of SMC with special intelligence support not available elsewhere in the intelligence community. Project West Wing staff are also colocated with customers at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio; the Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC) at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama; the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California; and in the National Capital Region.
The Economic and Market Analysis Center was established to address the increasing importance of economic and market trends on the development of system and mission requirements. The group provides rigorous insight into economic factors, government policies, and commercial forecasts that affect the acquisition of complex systems. The center merges the corporation’s well-known systems engineering acumen with market research and economic analysis. The center emphasizes collaborative efforts among industry experts, government agencies, and Aerospace analysts, many of whom are leading experts in their fields. Read more about EMAC here.