Got Policy

For you policy wonks and wonkettes who have been waiting, here, finally, is the new U.S. National Space Policy, released by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy last Friday. Don't worry about missing the champagne, balloons and fireworks. There weren't any.

Under the new, quietly released document, the nation's "fundamental goals" are to:
  • Strengthen the nation's space leadership and ensure that space capabilities are available in time to further U. S. national security, homeland security, and foreign policy objectives;

  • Enable unhindered U. S. operations in and through space to defend our interests there;

  • Implement and sustain an innovative human and robotic exploration program with the objective of extending human presence across the solar system;

  • Increase the benefits of civil exploration, scientific discovery, and environmental activities;

  • Enable a dynamic, globally competitive domestic commercial space sector in order to promote innovation, strengthen U. S. leadership, and protect national, homeland, and economic security;

  • Enable a robust science and technology base supporting national security, homeland security, and civil space activities; and

  • Encourage international cooperation with foreign nations and/or consortia on space activities that are of mutual benefit and that further the peaceful exploration and use of space, as well as to advance national security, homeland security, and foreign policy objectives.

  • Peruse (which either means "examine thoroughly" or "glance over hastily") the 10-page document. And compare this Bush administration update with the now-superseded, pre-9/11 (and pre-lots of other things) Clinton-era space policy, from way back in September 1996.

    Clark Lindsey comments on the document's commercial space guidelines.

    New Scientist focuses on the
    security provisions (expressing some concerns Jeff Foust predicted).

    Leonard David has an overview (which also ran in USA Today and on MSNBC.com).

    Space Foundation "strongly urges the next Congress and its relevant congressional committees, upon convening, to act upon the principles and guidelines of the National Space Policy."

    And for some historical perspective on all this, here is NASA's collection of
    key documents in space policy, dating back from the 1950's.

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