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Obama reaches out to foreign private companies in new US National Space Policy

The National Space Policy (PDF) released on Monday by the Obama administration goes directly against the previous president's plans. According to the document, exploring space is more a cooperative program than a competition. The new directive offers an expanded role for foreign governments and private companies in monitoring Earth's climate, tracking and removing orbital debris and protecting satellites. It also states that space is for everybody and "calls on all nations to work together to adopt approaches for responsible activity in space to preserve this right for the benefit of future generations."


Since the abandoning of the Constellation program the US government is opening more and more towards private companies in it's plans with space, in strong contrast to the Bush era. The next step in the process is the new space policy, which aims to invest more in space-related research as a way to bolster U.S. industry, and even reaches out to foreign private companies in hopes of allowing them to handle government funded missions.


Bush's plans to go alone to the Moon and maybe beyond took a 180° degrees turn as the new policy will now focus more on looking back towards Earth and surveying it from above. It also promotes openness and provides a chance to restrict the use of arms in space. “It is the shared interest of all nations to act responsibly in space to help prevent mishaps, misperceptions and mistrust,” the new policy says in its opening lines. “Space operations should be conducted in ways that emphasize openness and transparency.”

With the introduction of such a program many private companies have their hopes high as the plan calls on federal agencies to “actively explore the use of inventive, nontraditional arrangements” like creating public-private partnerships, flying government instruments on commercial spacecraft or buying data from commercial satellite operators.

"It is clear to us now that our opportunities and responsibilities have changed," said Barry Pavel, the NSC senior director for defense policy and strategy. "We recognize that space is now more important than ever for the economy and national security, but also for the environment."

Last Updated (Sunday, 08 August 2010 19:22)

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