Press Release

American Leadership Is A Critical Component To Future International Space Development

By SpaceRef Editor
November 19, 2009
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American Leadership Is A Critical Component To Future International Space Development

Washington, D.C. – November 19, 2009- Today, the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing entitled, The Growth of Global Space Capabilities: What’s Happening and Why it Matters. The hearing examined the United States’ leadership in space-related capabilities and compared them against those being acquired and utilized by newly-emerging space-faring nations.

“Understanding respective nation’s objectives, and how the United States can work with them directly and indirectly to achieve common goals must be an aspect of our own nation’s space program,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Pete Olson (R-TX).

Members’ main concerns were directed towards the U.S. space program’s future vision and funding. As Dr. Scott Pace, Director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, testified, “Our national security and public safety, global economic competitiveness and scientific capabilities, are all reliant on access to space and space-based capabilities.”

Members were open overall to increased international cooperation, as long as the U.S. remained the world leader in space-based technology development. “I’m all for talking about global partnerships, but we should never cede American leadership in endeavors we have earned and invested in for several decades now,” Olson said.

Olson continued, “With each nation that commits to the goal of sending humans into orbit, and with each promise of missions to the moon, both manned or unmanned, we should recommit ourselves to an unequivocal path of human space flight that serves as an example of leadership, and potential partnership for other nations.”

Members also discussed the need for maintaining a clear set of goals and securing reliable funds for NASA to achieve them, if the U.S. is to continue leading the world in space-based capabilities. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) expressed concern that Congress needs to ensure that money going into the space program produces solid results. Rohrabacher pointed out that America invests more money in its space program than any other nation, but he argued that most of that money is not spent wisely.

The following witnesses testified today before the Subcommittee:

Mr. Marty Hauser, Vice President for Research and Analysis, Washington Operations, The Space Foundation;
Mr. J.P. Stevens, Vice President, Space Systems, Aerospace Industries Association;
Dr. Scott Pace, Director, Space Policy Institute, The George Washington University;
Dr. Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Director, European Space Policy Institute; and
Dr. Ray A. Williamson, Executive Director, Secure World Foundation.

For more information about the hearing, or to read witness testimony, visit the GOP Science and Technology Committee website.

SpaceRef staff editor.