Since the space shuttle program ended in July 2011, the United States has not had the capability to launch humans into space. U.S. astronauts are now flying to space in Russian spacecraft. If the nation does regain the ability to launch manned missions, it would be through so-called “commercial companies.” In the interim, NASA is developing a large rocket booster with no firm requirements or defined use, as well as a space capsule with limited capabilities to be flown to a yet unspecified destination. In fact, the government is developing three space capsules, none of which can conduct extra-vehicular activities. After showing the benefits of assembly in Earth’s orbit and building the International Space Station, we no longer have a fundamental capability to assemble projects in space. There is much talk about going to Mars, yet significant technical challenges must be overcome in order to accomplish a successful mission to the red planet.
In January 2013, the Baker Institute hosted “Lost in Space: The Need for a Definitive U.S. Space Policy,” which featured a panel of six space policy experts that reviewed the status and future of NASA and the nation’s civil space program. At this event, on the eve of a very contested presidential election, and with all of the uncertainties facing the space program, the Baker Institute reconvened the 2013 panel to once again review the state of NASA and future U.S. space policy.
This program was sponsored by the Baker Institute Space Policy Program.
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Mark J. Albrecht, Ph.D.
Board Chairman, U.S. Space LLC
Leroy Chiao, Ph.D.
Former NASA astronaut and International Space Station (ISS) commander
Joan Johnson-Freese, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of National Security Affairs, U.S. Naval War College
Neal F. Lane, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow in Science and Technology Policy, Baker Institute
Michael F. Lembeck, Ph.D.
President, CEPStone LLC
Eugene H. Levy, Ph.D.
Andrew Hays Buchanan Professor of Astrophysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University
John M. Logsdon, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University
George W.S. Abbey
Senior Fellow in Space Policy, Baker Institute