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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs B Statement of Task An ad hoc committee will prepare a report to advise the nation on key goals and critical issues in 21st-century U.S. civil space policy. The committee will identify overarching goals that are important for our national interest. Issues that are critically important to achieving these goals and ensuring the future progress of the U.S. civil space program will be identified, and actions to address unresolved issues will be recommended. Using its best objective judgment and recognizing other national priorities, the committee will explore a possible long-term future for U.S. civil space activities that is built upon lessons learned and past successes; is based on realistic expectations of future resources; and is credible scientifically, technically, and politically. The committee will, inter alia Review the history of U.S. space policy and propose a broad policy basis for 21st-century leadership in space; Examine the balance and interfaces between fundamental scientific research in space, human space exploration, robotic exploration, earth observations, and applications of space technology and civil space systems for societal benefits; Assess the role that commercial space companies could play in fulfilling national space goals and the role of the government in facilitating the emergence and success of commercial space companies; and Make recommendations for government attention to address and potentially resolve problems that might prevent achieving key national goals. Illustrative examples of potential topics for the committee’s consideration in the study include the following:
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America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs Near-term and long-term human spaceflight program goals and options for fulfilling them; Utility of satellites in understanding global climate change and in advancing geophysical sciences (physical oceanography, solid earth sciences, and so on), and roles and responsibilities of government agencies in such Earth observations; Potential opportunities in various space sciences, including planetary missions, space-based astronomy, astrophysical observations, extraterrestrial life searches, assessing planetary bodies in other solar systems, and so on; Reconciling total program content and total program resources for the civil space program; Strength of the U.S. space industrial base; Developing advanced technologies for applications in remote sensing and other areas; Access to space, availability and cost of U.S. launch vehicles, use of foreign launch capabilities; and International cooperation and competition in space programs. National security space issues will not be a main focus of the report, but may be addressed to the extent that they interact with or impact the civil space program.