Space Industry Coalition Presents White Paper to Political Candidates

Space Industry Coalition Presents White Paper to Political Candidates

A coalition of 13 U.S. space industry organizations released a white paper on March 4 to help presidential and other political candidates understand the need for ensuring U.S. leadership in space.   The paper does not advocate for any particular program, but more broadly explains why the United States should be a leader, the challenges it faces, and what actions politicians could take.

Led by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the Space Foundation, and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF), the organizations argue that government and private sector investments in space represent a $330 billion global industry and enable a broad range of capabilities critical to national security, communications networks, and understanding Earth.    However, a list of challenges threaten U.S. leadership, including unpredictable funding; foreign competition; a congested, contested and competitive space environment, and workforce trends.   The paper lists 10 actions that are needed, ranging from committing to predictable budgets and repealing the 2011 Budget Control Act (which requires sequestration if budgets exceed specified limits) to restoring a U.S. ability to launch astronauts into space to strengthening the U.S. industrial base to committing to a national security space program that maintains U.S. dominance in space.

Speaking at the National Press Club, Space Foundation CEO Elliot Pulham said the goal of the white paper is to ensure there is “an appreciation for the great importance of space” by the presidential candidates and other politicians.  The purpose is “not to have space become a presidential issue,” Pulham stressed, adding that “we would be happy if no one on the campaign trail says something stupid about space.”  Instead, they should understand that as a candidate for the highest office in the land that they should embrace the space program because it is “quintessentially American.”   AIAA Executive Director Sandy Magnus agreed that the goal was to create a strong consensus in the industry “such that [space] becomes a non-issue,” a way to “take it off the table, but stress its importance.”   Eric Stallmer, President of CSF, added that they want to avoid space becoming a local jobs issue:  “We have to think nationally, not locally.”

Pulham said they had been able to present the paper to all but one of the presidential campaigns and it was received “with gratitude and interest.”

The other 10 organizations involved in writing the white paper are: Aerospace Industries Association, Aerospace States Association, American Astronautical Society, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, Colorado Space Coalition, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, Satellite Industry Association, Silicon Valley Space Business Roundtable, Space Angels Network, and Space Florida.

The white paper is posted on the websites of many of those organizations.

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