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Lost in Space: The Need for a Definitive U.S. Space Policy?

Credit: NASA

In a special program sponsored by the Baker Institute, noted space policy experts reviewed the present status and future of NASA and the U.S. civil space program, as well as the need for a definitive national civil space policy.

This event was held Jan 24, 2013 and can now be viewed at:

http://youtu.be/o0YDx2AY9ck

When the space shuttle program ended in July 2011, the United States lost its capacity to launch humans into space. U.S. astronauts are now flying to space in Russian spacecraft, and if the nation does regain such a capability, it may be provided by commercial companies.

In the interim, NASA has initiated the development of a large rocket booster with no firm requirements or defined use, as well as a space capsule with limited capabilities to be flown to a yet unspecified destination.

In light of the current situation, two reports were released in December 2012 that call into question the future of the U.S. space program: A Space Foundation paper urges NASA to shed some of its science and research functions, and to focus again on exploring space; and a study by the National Research Council concludes that a national disagreement over NASA’s space goals has proven detrimental to space agency budgeting and planning efforts.

With all of these concerns in mind, Rice University’s Baker Institute brought together a panel of six space policy experts to review the present status and future of NASA and the nation’s civil space program.

Participants also discussed the need for and the elements of a definitive national civil space policy.

For information on the event, go to:

http://bakerinstitute.org/events/lost-in-space-the-need-for-a-definitive-u.s.-space-policy

NOTE: Video Link Lost in Space Event at:

http://youtu.be/o0YDx2AY9ck

By Leonard David

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