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American lead in space is perishable: Report

Artist's concept of NASA's future moon landing shows a lunar rover with the crew. NASA image

NEW YORK (BNS): While the United States still enjoys a leadership position in spaceflight, satellite services and national security space operations, that lead is perishable, according to a recent aerospace report.

“Our nation has many areas of international cooperation in space ventures, but we also have credible competitors with the vision and resources to equal or even supplant our dominance — a situation that would adversely affect both our economy and national security,” the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) report warned.

“In a very real sense the “space race” is far from over: We might not be racing, but our global competitors certainly are,” AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said on Monday when the report went public.

The report titled “The Role of Space in Addressing America’s National Priorities,” concludes that the US can no longer afford to treat its national security, civil and commercial space capabilities separately.

It recommends that the new Barack Obama administration develop a mechanism to look at our space capabilities as a single enterprise consistent with national goals and objectives.

Over the last several decades, innovations from space have increasingly become a part of our daily lives, CEO Marion Blakey said.

“Space assets are critical to our environmental stewardship, human exploration and national security,” said Blakey. “Given our dependence on space assets and increasing international competition, it is critical that space issues be seamlessly integrated into national policy.”

The report was prepared by AIA’s Space Council to inform the new administration about the challenges facing the US. space sector. In addition to recommending the establishment of a national coordinating body to develop and execute a national space strategy, the report suggests the administration provide the necessary budgets to continue critical, multi-year space programs.

Additional recommendations include creating a more favorable business environment, reducing gaps in climate measurement and establishing a comprehensive space protection strategy, among others.

The report is being provided to the new administration and members of Congress and is a blueprint for policy, Blakey said.

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