U.S. Government Space Program

The U.S. government pursues space activities in a number of areas. The President creates space policy for all government agencies and initiatives. The Congress is responsible for approving funding for and routine oversight of the space activities of the federal government. Various White House offices are involved in setting out and implementing space policy – including the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Security Council (NSC) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These federal agencies are charged with executing the space activities of the U.S. government.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

headquartered in Washington, D.C.

The mission of NASA is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research. The agency carries
out its work in four mission directorates: aeronautics, exploration systems, science and space operations. NASA also operates multiple Earth-observing and remote sensing scientific satellites. NASA Headquarters provides overall guidance and direction to the agency. Major NASA centers include:

Ames Research Center, Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif.
Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Glenn Research Center, Plum Brook Station, Sandusky, Ohio
Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, Cleveland, Ohio
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 

headquartered in Washington, D.C.

NOAA is charged with providing information about the oceans and atmosphere, including weather warnings and forecasts, as well as climate, ecosystems and commerce information. Using space capabilities is vital for NOAA to complete many of its activities.

The Office of Space Commercialization (OSC), part of the NOAA Satellite and Information Service, is the principal unit for space commerce policy activities within the Department of Commerce. Its mission is to foster the conditions for the economic growth and technological advancement of the U.S. commercial
space industry. Other organizations across the Department of Commerce that handle space include: NOAA’s Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs Office; NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey; International Trade Administration; Bureau of Industry and Security; National Telecommunications and Information Administration; and National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 

headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Within the Federal Aviation Administration exists the Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST), which is responsible for ensuring protection of the public, property and the national security and foreign policy interests of the U.S. during a commercial launch or re-entry activity. AST also encourages, facilitates and promotes U.S. commercial space transportation.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

headquartered in Washington, D.C.

The Federal Communications Commission oversees policies, rules, procedures and standards for licensing and regulating orbital assignments for satellites.
Department of Defense.

Department of Defense (DoD)

headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Within the Department of Defense are multiple organizations and offices that take part in the department’s space activities, both classified and unclassified.  

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) 

headquartered in Springfield, Va.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is a combat support agency for the DoD and a member of the intelligence community. The NGA uses imagery from space-based, national intelligence reconnaissance systems, as well as commercial satellites and other sources, to develop imagery and map-based intelligence solutions and provide geospatial intelligence support for global world events, disasters and military actions.

Missile Defense Agency (MDA) 

headquartered in Fort Belvoir, Va.

The Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) mission is to develop, test and field an integrated, layered, ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, and its deployed forces, allies and friends against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight. The MDA uses satellites and ground-based sensors to provide worldwide coverage.

National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) 

headquartered in Chantilly, Va.

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) designs, builds and operates U.S. reconnaissance satellites. The NRO’s mission is to develop and operate unique and innovative overhead reconnaissance systems and conduct intelligence-related activities essential for U.S. security. In 2010, the NRO celebrated its 50th anniversary.

 U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM)

headquartered at Offut Air Force Base, Neb.

One of nine U.S. unified commands under the DoD, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) is charged with multiple missions, including full-spectrum global strike, space operations, integrated missile defense and global C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance). Under USSTRATCOM are Joint Functional Component Commands (JFCCs), responsible for day-to-day planning and execution for the primary mission areas – JFCC-Space is involved with coordinating, planning and conducting space operations.

Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) 

headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s (SMDC) mission is to provide dominant space and missile defense capabilities for the Army and to plan for and
integrate those capabilities in support of combatant commanders. SMDC serves as the Army-specific proponent for space, high-altitude and groundbased
midcourse defense.

Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)

headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) is a major military command that organizes, trains and equips forces to supply combatant commanders with the space and intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities to defend the U.S. and its national interests. AFSPC’s mission is to defend the United States through the control and exploitation of space.

Defense Space Council (DSC)

headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Defense Space Council (DSC) was created in 2010 and it is chaired by the DoD Executive Agent for Space, the Secretary of the Air Force. The DSC is the
principal advisory forum to inform, coordinate and resolve space issues for DoD. The DSC is charged with aligning requirements, acquisition and budget planning and execution with strategy and policy.