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United States Civil Space Policy: Summary of a Workshop (2008)

Chapter:A Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"A Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2008. United States Civil Space Policy: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12202.

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A Statement of Task An ad hoc committee under the auspices of the Space Studies Board, working in collaboration with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, will organize a public workshop for the purpose of encouraging broad national discussion about future directions of the U.S. civil space program. The workshop will utilize invited talks, panel discussions, and general discussions to review developments since the two boards held a similar workshop in 2003 and will revisit aspects of the question “What are the principal purposes, goals, and priorities of the U.S. civil space program?” Among the ancillary questions that could be open for discussion are the following: 1. What are the fundamental purposes of the U.S. space program and what are the roles and relationships for space activities to promote national security, societal benefits, scientific and technological advancement, commercial and economic benefits, and international relations? 2. What are the appropriate roles of the federal government vis-à-vis the private sector? 3. How can expansive expectations for the total content of the civil space program be reconciled with realistic expectations for total program resources? 4. What is required to ensure that national goals for human space exploration are sustainable? 5. What are the relationships between U.S. national space goals and those of other countries, and where are there current and future opportunities for cooperation and synergism? The goal of the workshop will not be to develop definitive answers to any of these questions but to air a range of views and perspectives that will serve to inform later broader public discussion of such questions and a prospective comprehensive study on U.S. space policy. PRELIMINARY WORK PLAN The organizing committee will plan and hold a one-and-one-half-day public workshop in tandem with a scheduled meeting of the Space Studies Board on November 29-30, 2007, at the Beckman Center. Approximately 12 outside participants will be invited to make presentations and join in panel discussions during the workshop. Overall participation in the workshop will include members of the SSB and ASEB, other experts from academia and industry, and representatives from relevant federal agencies and Congress. A workshop summary (type 3) report will be prepared by an appointed rapporteur with the assistance of staff. The report will summarize what occurred at the workshop and will include summaries of individual presentations, but it will not present consensus conclusions or recommendations. The report will be published within four months of the workshop. It will serve to inform later broader public discussion of such questions and a prospective comprehensive study on U.S. space policy. 25

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In 2004, the NRC released a workshop report about the future direction of the U.S. civil space program. At the same time, the Administration announced the Vision for Space Exploration, and in June 2004, it issued a report that articulated a balanced space program for human and robotic exploration and science. Subsequent NRC reports, however, have noted that NASA has not been given the resources to carry out this broad-based program. This challenge, along with others faced by the U.S. civil space program, stimulated the NRC to form an ad hoc committee to organize a second workshop, held in November 2007, to address the space program's future directions. The workshop's goal was to air a range of views and perspectives so as to inform discussions of these questions by policymakers and the public. This book presents a summary of the workshop.

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