Policy Papers

Policy Papers

The Aerospace Corporation is home to some of the foremost experts in the field of space system engineering—and that expertise extends far beyond the space domain. These papers provide forward-looking perspectives on emerging technologies and imminent challenges of direct interest to policymakers at all levels and in all sectors. Contact the center to arrange a briefing on these topics.

General Space Policy


The Outer Space Treaty: Assessing Its Relevance at The 50-Year Mark

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Outer Space Treaty (OST). There have been many suggestions over the years regarding possible updates to the OST’s provisions to recognize changes in technologies and circumstances.

July 2017


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…

March 2017


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– or a wasteful exercise if it doesn’t…

November 2016

Special Topic: Crowded Space

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…

January 2017

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 sustainable?

March 2017

Commercial Space Activity and Its Impact on U.S. Debris Regulatory Structure

Radical shifts in space operations will soon make commercial activity the dominant source of space traffic. The U.S. regulatory system must be ready to accommodate the increased activity and set the right precedents for future debris mitigation decisions.

August 2017

Commercial Space Policy

Updating National Policy on Commercial Remote Sensing

The current U.S. commercial remote sensing policy was not designing to accommodate the number, the increasing capabilities, the diverse applications, and the expanding array of global operations of modern remote sensing systems…

March 2017

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?

January 2017

Civil Space Policy

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…

March 2017

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 …

March 2017

 Trends and Commentary

Ensuring U.S. Space Leadership

A panel discussion on “Ensuring U.S. Space Leadership” featured representatives from industry and government, including the newly named head of the National Space Council and the chairman of the House Space Subcommittee.

July 2017