By virtue of a long-standing tradition of collaborative projects between NASA and Rice University, the Baker Institute Space Policy Program is distinctively positioned to influence the national and international debate on the future of manned and unmanned space exploration, commercial space efforts and international cooperation in space. Over 50 years ago, in a speech delivered at Rice University, President John F. Kennedy called for a great national effort to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, declaring, “The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.” Today, America’s pre-eminent role in space is being challenged both internationally and domestically. Space policy has become a prominent and contentious public policy issue. The future of America’s space program is at a critical point in time; decisions are being made that will affect not only our national security but also our ability to successfully compete with other countries in the commercial use of space.
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