A New U.S. Space Policy

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Introduction

On April 15, 2010 in Merritt Island, Florida, President Obama gazed over the crowd on a balmy afternoon as he prepared to share his policies for America’s exploration into space. Amidst the cheers in Kennedy Space Center, President Obama announced the new administration’s Space Policy would skyrocket NASA’s budget over the next five years by $6 billion and open 2,500 new jobs in the space center.   According to President Obama, the United States’ economy and international dominance in space had a promising future.

Although this gravity defying venture cost much less than federal programs such as national defense, the total bill was astronomically high with its $1 trillion dollar price tag.  Critics of the space program wonder what Americans have gained from their tax dollar investment, and the answer is little more than hopes and dreams. Indeed, the weather channel and meteorologists have been able to hone their crafts thanks to our space age investments; however, the price seems too steep in exchange for our leaders’ inability to commit. 

Our history’s presidents have sought to encourage space exploration in their Space Policies. Eisenhower was the first president to use scientific measures that would produce a viable program that would allow space exploration, but because he did not provide quick results, he was removed from office.  Former president Kennedy considered that a trip to the moon would be a bold political statement, but there was very little thought about how space exploration would benefit humanity, and while his replacement Johnson was an advocate for exploration, he did not reveal the passion but instead proposed to finish what Kennedy started.  Nixon remains one of our most infamous presidents, but he did support, against his cabinet’s advice, exploring space with a shuttle.  Conservative presidents such as Regan and Bush senior also supported space exploration, but it seems that they deemed it an appropriate place to use for military undertakings.  Clinton also thought space exploration would be a valuable enterprise, but he seemed to lose interest due to NASA’s “Faster, Better, Cheaper” philosophy.  Lastly, Bush did not have the time because he had to contend with the United States’ ‘war on terror’ due to September 11.  While history shows an interest in space exploration, there is little progress. With that in mind, President Obama quickly proposed a new Space Policy in order to show his interest in a new and improved space program. 

While the Obama Administration has declared that NASA has created thousands of new jobs and a fistful of new industries, it seems Obama’s main objective is to reassure that our space technology is actually a valuable protection factor in our national security. Really, I am not suggesting that our space program has been a waste. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Initially, the super powers Russia and United States proposed that they would be the first to enter and conquer our atmosphere and explore the great beyond, and America continues to be the dominant force in space. Subsequently, the Obama Administration’s new space policy focuses on competition, security, peace, and unity…what’s wrong with this picture? 

If we commercialize space, we will become greedy. In order to conquer, we must take over. Granted, President Obama clearly states that no state or nation should attempt to own any celestial skies, but our track record on Earth clearly shows a mass of people who want a piece of the proverbial pie. Ultimately, we need a space policy because we need our rules; however, in order to alleviate the fear that the next administration policy reads like a Wal-Mart advertisement or Amazon sale list, I have decided to make some crucial revisions.

Principles

The United States would appreciate other nations’ adherence to the succeeding principles created with our former cautious yet great leader Dwight Eisenhower in mind.  Space exploration is a viable endeavor as we consider our history: 

Initially, it was a race for which continent could make it to the moon first. Now our exploration is not for profit or prestige but for humanity. Our utmost interest involves the preservation of humanity and survival. Consequently, countries who wish to explore space will agree on the Space Policy. Working together as a planet as we venture into the unknown, we will prove that we can respect space and establish a better civilization. The name of our international project is hereby named United Earth. 

United Earth aims to promote responsible behavior. Citizens will recall space is vital to offering “sustainability, stability, and free access to, and use of, space vital to [our] national interests.  Much like our parents made rules for their children to follow, our principles guide us. Laws will govern space much like they do on earth, so the first principle is the most important. Essentially, we must be responsible for our own actions and hold accountability. Because the main priority is trust, we will embrace a ‘we-feeling,’  and cease group or class separation in space because in order to remain trusting of one another, we must identify with one another. Thus, the main priority is to promote trust amongst all citizens. The government wishes to provide space citizens free access as long as the intention is for the international interests. Coicaud and Wheeler suggest “realism and liberalism take the state system for granted, [but] Marxism…a blueprint for how to fundamentally transform the existing international order.”   Using the positive attributes of Marxism, we hope to encourage countries to embrace that our success in space will depend upon a collective effort. 

This section was rewritten to increase understanding of the benefits. Encouraging space exploration is vital to its understanding, so the New Space Policy will continue to recommend it. However, space exploration will only pertain to educational purposes. Because we have to use our time in space to benefit all of humanity, and not only our home country, we have to explore it with the intent to learn. While the original policy called for “peaceful”  exploration, I think peaceful is a term that may mean a variety of understandings to many individuals. In addition, I thought it odd that the original principle would use the word peaceful, yet make clear that space would be the best place to plan our national and homeland security. 

United Earth holds a vested interest in our solar system, and we hope to ask other participating nations to join us on our quest in order to “prevent mishaps, misperceptions, and mistrust.”  Our exploration into space is ultimately for scientific purposes, so we limit private companies used for unnecessary travel, and reinstate development for the space shuttle’s successor “the Constellation.”  In true spirit of equal and free access, it will no longer be permissible to use resources for space joy rides. 

In regards to my revision thus far, the original tone seemed self-proprietary. The Obama Administration proposes that we commercialize in order support our US economy; therefore, it reads as though we need to facilitate American needs in order to become celestially competitive and advance our leadership. For the most part, the original principle stands, but instead of “globally” competitive, we need to consider the entire universe

It seems that Obama’s policy promotes privatization and commercialization, but at the same time, he speaks of public assess. Therefore, I changed this paragraph because it was contradictory. If we are going to assert for global peace, we have to eliminate competition between the wealthy, middle class, and poor. Instead, we will all be space immigrants. Thus, everyone will become equal when it involves learning what benefits our planet. While the Obama Administration’s policy asserts “A robust and competitive commercial space sector is vital to continued progress in space,”  the document specifically mentions only the United States. Some may believe that global competition is healthy because it encourages us to create bigger and better than our neighboring counties; however, the universe is endless. Galaxy competition has a foreboding tone. Moreover, large corporations would be dangerous territory in the New Space Policy because they may want to control specific bodies of the heavens for their personal gains. Our success will involve a collective effort, so while Marxism is considered communist/socialist, it reveals a system in which we work towards a common goal and as one unit.

United Earth requests that future space citizens and employees safely explore space and treat each area with care. Exploration should not be a race between nations but a joining of nations to work together to resolve environmental issues and the changes our planet goes through.  If we consider the larger picture such as our solar system, our planet shares it space with many other planets. In addition, our galaxy shares the universe with many other galaxies. As an example, we could measure locations such as the distance from New York City to the United Kingdom comparable to the Earth’s distance from Mars. 

Eventually, we will build living quarters on habitable planets, so the locations will provide a means to produce our future public transportation.  It would be wise to search for natural resources that will help with our energy needs. It is essential that we do not pollute our earth any further or possibly bring pollution out into space. Therefore, we shall implement a scientist controlled government in our New Space Policy. The scientists will originate from different countries, and they will be considered as one entity as they explore together. 

Goals

Consistent with our principles, the New Space Policy will pursue the following goals in its national space programs: develop human and robotic employment; encourage domestic industries by participating in advanced training for space citizens and employees in order to produce reliable satellites for manufacturing, communication and terrestrial applications; develop synergies in global markets to produce satellite-based services such as innovative international communication; increase entrepreneurship to facilitate communication systems, yet rely on stable corporations to manufacture satellites, space telescopes,  and operations for space launch. Subsequently, the Space Policy will divide goals into long term and short term goals in order to provide specific timelines and achieve livable conditions in space and reduce the Earth’s environmental stressors.

In “The Policy Process,” Sadeh and Vallance recommend three stages  in order to build an effective Space Policy: national leadership sets goals; agencies achieve goals; and administration and Congress allocate resources. Setting goals is often the easiest, but it may end up to be the most sobering experience because it involves taking careful inventory of how and whom can achieve goals. In regards to our national leadership, we would adopt an international leadership based upon scientists. In turn, they will determine the appropriate agencies to carry out the goals. Finally, our New Space Policy will rely on careful allocation of the resources we gain from our goals. 

Our short term goals’ timeline extends from the years 2015-2040. By 2025, the Space Professionals will undertake missions that lead them to explore and land on asteroids, and by the middle of the 2030s, we will “send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth.”  In addition, we will “Continue the operation of the International Space Station (ISS), in cooperation with its inter- national partners, likely to 2020 or beyond, and expand efforts to:  utilize the ISS for scientific, technological, commercial, diplomatic, and educational purposes; support activities requiring the unique attributes of humans in space; serve as a continuous human presence in Earth orbit; and support future objectives in human space exploration.” 

In this timeframe, we hope to develop sustainable infrastructures with natural resources. Ultimately, in order for our New Space Policy to succeed, we will recognize that progress is crucial in order to sustain our fragile humanity. In “Future of Space and Earth Robotic Exploration: Scientific and Technological Challenges and Opportunities,” Charles Elachi reveals that “sophisticated orbiters, balloons, landers, penetrators, and submarines”  continue to progress so we are able to further explore the solar system.  These elements will allow us to explore and find natural resources. 

Using natural and raw resources will allow us to use materials that are characteristic of space’s atmosphere and environment. However, we must use educational programs to teach future space employees the attributes of space. In turn, the educational programs will include technology courses designed to produce robotics in order to reduce the strain of human beings taking on dangerous and hazardous positions. In addition, educational programs will involve teaching humans to use robotics for assistance. Naturally, established corporations will produce the robotics, but each individual who maintains living quarters or employment in space will have a thorough understanding of their uses. 

This leads us to United Earth’s long term goals. Our long term goals’ timeline will be approximately 2040 and beyond. Because of our planet’s condition, we will explore ways throughout space that can possibly ease the Earth’s environmental deterioration. Using the robotic initiative, space employees will develop means in which we can transport industrious companies that add to global warming into space. The infrastructures will have to be designed to contain the earth’s environmental attributes. Therefore, the robotics will maintain the industries, so human beings are not exposed to its harsh elements. In addition to moving environmentally distressing industries, robotics and human initiatives will cultivate transportation venues for human beings. Our ultimate goal is to improve our planet’s and humanity’s sustainability in order to improve life and conditions for all. 

In sum, United Earth hopes that its goals will benefit humanity. Sharing knowledge of the benefits of space will encourage countries to explore its new region as a community. In addition, our community undertaking will encourage safe operations in space. We maintain to keep space a peaceful residence away from destructive human tendencies. We encourage innovative technology to benefit humanity, but we will not use space as a means to experiment with weapons of mass destruction. Instead, we will use our new technology to discover deeper space in order to gain understandings of our planet’s origin and predict, and hopefully, prevent its destruction. 

The Obama Administration’s Space Policy provided goals that were poorly defined; however, there are clear timelines outlined in the “Civil Space Guidelines” section. Therefore, I thought it would be more effective to move them under the new goals section. In addition, while entrepreneurship is a plausible goal, we have to ensure citizens have equal access to develop new products and ideas. Synergy suggests that members involved with the New Space Policy would regard each other as team members and not competition. Furthermore, ‘domestic’ emphasizes that this policy is made in the USA. Hence, if we want to encourage our international neighbors to participate, it seems necessary to lose the territorial tone. Also, in order to eliminate the risk of inexperienced entrepreneurs dominating the necessary technology, I decided the revise this paragraph to recognize stable corporations. 

In “Jump-Starting the Orbital Economy,” David Freedom asserts “no one knows if start-up companies will be able to deliver safe, affordable, reliable spacecraft. If they fail, human exploration of space could be set back by decades.”  Reliable and safe are the main concerns. While affordability will allow others to experience the benefit of the space program, it may come at the cost of safety.  The Obama Administration has made projections for the year 2015 that involves building a “specific heavy-lift rocket,”  so it is hopeful that they rely on corporations that have credibility and authority in their crafts.

 Once again, the former space policy makes repeatedly mentions of “peace,” and at the same time, it mentions that space is the likely area that we could use to perfect our national security measures. If the United States wants to welcome other countries, it seems that the correct terminology would be international security measures. As we progress and move into deeper space, who knows what we shall find.  On earth, we use security to protect ourselves from intruders, and for the most part, we are all equal in terms of materials. In all seriousness, in case we encounter other alien beings, we will be civil and try to communicate. Our New Space Policy does not enforce hold your ground, fire, and ask questions later. Let it be known that there will be zero tolerance for barbaric acts. 

Intersector Guidelines

In pursuit of our long term and short term goals, individuals and agencies will offer guidance after they are psychologically cleared and deemed mentally healthy. Scientists and astronomers will lead each department and agency to continue research regarding the most feasible plan for developing and perfecting technologies in order to create sustainable living situations and work stations. Our access to space depends on viable transport so NASA will continue to develop our single launch system, the Constellation. In a collective effort, the space team will work together to provide the technology that is necessary for our future explorations into space. 

United Earth will train Space Professionals through educational and professional development. Their primary goals include: “achieving mission success in space operations and acquisition; stimulating innovation to improve commercial, civil, and national security space capabilities; and advancing science, exploration, and discovery..., [and] foster[ing] educational achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs”  

Governmental agencies are more than likely the appropriate group of individuals to take on such a project; however, I felt like this particular section focused on the United States and did not take into account other countries. In addition, the added factor of ensuring each candidate is of sound mental judgment will maintain that this is a secure operation that we want others to take seriously. It is entirely possibly that capable individuals will prove to be competent workers on Earth; however, due to the atmospheric changes in space and the working conditions, one has to be of sound mind. Granted, most citizens would take this for granted, but I think it deserves to be mentioned, albeit briefly. 

On another note, STEM programs in schools are valuable in teaching the future generations the importance of science, technology, and math in a supportive setting. Even though this venture clearly depends on great scientific minds, the former space policy has a lack of focus on these certain individuals. While some of our government agencies are developed for such ventures, we have to include others in this world. A national policy would thus become an international policy. In order for our space exploration program to be successful, we have to embrace diversity in genders and cultures. 

Conclusion

While the Obama Administration has demonstrated that they believe space exploration is valuable for our world, it was too brief in some areas and not enough detail in others. The emphasis was on which government agency would be responsible for each aspect of this venture, but it never revealed the ultimate ‘so what.’ Overall, our Space Policy should divulge an answer to the question on the majority of the regular citizens’ minds. 

Ultimately, we all want to know why it is important to our world to explore space. Our planet Earth is in trouble, and the only way to ensure our survival is to study and to measure our solar system’s history so we can deepen our understanding regarding its past and present in order to predict our planet’s future. Using clear goals with reliable timelines will ensure we have that objective in mind. It is no longer enough to author a Space Policy with the intent that its progress will magically appear. Overall, our New Space Policy maintains to use our explorations to uncover methods to protect our planet from debris, develop infrastructures to decrease the industries that cause our atmosphere harm, and develop robotic devices to relieve some members of potential dangers in a relatively unexplored space.  It is not the New Space Policy’s intention to replace our Earth residence with space. Instead, it is a proactive measure to save our planet and provide our future generations a safe environment to live. According to our New Space Policy, humanity has a promising future.

Summary

President Obama revealed a revised Space Policy on June, 28, 2010. While a handful of our former presidents also took on the challenge, it remains to be seen if the policies are in fact effective. Essentially, the Space Policy is normally divided into sections, but the sections that need the most development are our Principles and our Goals. Principles such as modifying popular theories such as Marxism in order to promote unity, identifying that this is an international undertaking not the United States’ single mission, and maintaining to hold accountability in our actions while developing and exploring space reveal that our ultimate goal is for our survival. Using the brilliant scientific minds to lead our venture will hopefully alleviate the political game and eliminate unfruitful competiveness amongst each other. In order to protect humanity, we have to understand our planet’s weaknesses. Therefore, our new goals provide specific measures and timelines to help us identify a crucial timeline. Our goals consist of building sustainable infrastructures, developing robotic and human initiatives to complement working environments, perfecting technology that will allow us ways to safely explore space whilst gathering crucial information and identify appropriate natural resources, and eventually use infrastructures to decrease global warming and protect our planet. The goals intend to provide a schedule because it is difficult to make progress if we do not have a schedule to go by. Lastly, while my attempt at rewriting the Space Policy does not provide the perfect solution, it identifies why we should want to explore space.  

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