Press Release

Exploring Space: Considering U.S. Goals and Aspirations for Its Space Exploration Programs

By SpaceRef Editor
October 17, 2012
Filed under , ,

Every few years it seems the civil space program reaches yet another turning point. Indeed, NASA may have arrived at one again, barely two years after Congress passed, and the President signed, the last NASA Authorization Act into law in 2010. The Obama Administration seems reluctant to pursue the Space Launch System as called for in the NASA Authorization Act; Congress appears unwilling to fund certain public-private partnerships in human spaceflight at levels requested by the Administration. Meanwhile, as high profile programs face cost growth, the economic situation and trillion plus annual federal deficits over recent years make it unlikely that NASA will receive significant infusions of resources, barring a national decision to make its technological and scientific activities a higher priority.

While commentators, policymakers, commissions, and study groups have spilled barrels of ink arguing over “what” NASA should do, they pay less attention to the question of “why” it should exist in the first place. Logically, however, it follows that one’s answer to the “why” question will affect the answer to a “what” question. A program that exists primarily to answer scientific questions, for example, will differ from a program intended to open the solar system to human exploration and settlement. Both will differ from a program focused on improving American economic competitiveness or the development of new technology for economic and security purposes.

On November 1, the George C. Marshall Institute has invited individuals with a range of perspectives, experience, and ideas to offer their insights into these twin questions: “why” and “what.”


William B. Adkins
President, Adkins Strategies, LLC
Former Staff Director, House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

Charles A. Miller
President, NexGen Space LLC
Co-founder, Nanoracks LLC

James A. Vedda
Senior Policy Analyst, The Aerospace Corporation
Author, Becoming Spacefarers: Rescuing America’s Space Program

Date: November 1, 2012

Time: 8-11am

Where: Capitol Hill Club, 300 First St, SE, Washington, DC


SpaceRef staff editor.