Vice President Kamala Harris’ Office released a new framework for US space policy on Wednesday, showing how the Biden Administration plans approach to civil, commercial and national security-related use of space amid growing commercial interests and concerns about Chinese and Russian competition.
The seven-page document, titled the ‘United States Space Priorities Framework,’ includes many of the same space priorities from the Trump administration, such as the Artemis program, but cites using space to fight climate change and the importance of investing in STEM education.
Harris, set to convene the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council at 1:30pm ET, plans to ask members of the government body ‘to accelerate, expand, and develop rules and norms for responsible behavior in space,’ the White House said.
‘We are on the cusp of historic changes in access to and use of space – changes that have the potential to bring the benefits of space to more people and communities than ever before,’ the administration said in a report outlining its space priorities.
Vice President Kamala Harris’ Office released a new framework for US space policy on Wednesday, showing how the Biden Administration plans approach to civil, commercial and national security-related use of space amid growing commercial interests and concerns about Chinese and Russian competition
This will mark the first meeting of the National Space Council during the Biden Administration.
The organization, however, is the creation of former president George H. W. Bush in 1989, who placed his vice president, Dan Quayle, in charge of the division.
Quayle was tasked with recruiting members for the National Space Council, choosing the NASA administrator and leaders in the space industry, all of which who aimed to advise leaders on hose to navigate the obstacles of space and formulate solutions for combating current issues faced in the final frontier.
The council was dismissed in 1993, but was re-established by former President Donald Trump in June 2017, which saw Mike Pence run the show.
This will mark the first meeting of the National Space Council during the Biden Administration. The framework includes many space priorities from the Trump administration, but cites using space to fight climate change and the importance of investing in STEM education
According to the White House, Harris’ new framework includes many priorities made by the Trump Administration – specifically the Artemis program.
Artemis includes several missions over the next year that are all focused on landing American boots back on the moon.
The policy also carries over Trump’s space priorities of exploring the depths of our Solar System and defending the final frontier from other nations that may threaten its safety and stability.
‘The United States will remain a global leader in science and engineering by pioneering space research and technology that propels exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond,’ the document reads.
‘U.S. human and robotic space exploration missions will land the first woman and person of color on the Moon, advance a robust cislunar ecosystem, continue to leverage human presence in low-Earth orbit to enable people to live and work safely in space, and prepare for future missions to Mars and beyond.’
According to the White House, Harris’ new framework includes many priorities made by the Trump Administration – specifically the Artemis program. Artemis includes several missions over the next year that are all focused on landing American boots back on the moon
The policy does include a few updates, such as the importance of using space to fight climate change and investing in STEM research.
The Biden administration aims to use space-based Earth observation capabilities to monitor climate change, with the hopes of better understanding its effects to formulate solutions.
This will be done by monitoring the atmosphere, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and other Earth features impacted by a warming world.
For STEM, the framework cites it as investing in the future.
‘Investing in STEM education is critical to continuing U.S. leadership into the next generation and preparing the nation’s STEM workforce to fuel the economy of the future,’ according to the new framework.
‘Our STEM ecosystem of public and private organizations will leverage space programs to educate our children as part of improving the scientific literacy of Americans and increasing diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in scientific and technological fields.’
The framework, however, opens with an emphasis of using space to enable the US military ‘to protect and defend the U.S. homeland and to advance the national and collective security interests of the United States and its allies and partners.’
The Biden administration also promises to bolster space situational awareness sharing and space traffic coordination.
‘These services will be transferred to an open data platform, hosted by a U.S. civil agency, that leverages data and services provided from a variety of government, commercial, academic, and international sources,’ reads the document.
As many private companies, like SpaceX and Blue Origin, are turning space into a billion dollar industry, the White House wants to ensure there are policies in place that regulate business, along with providing support.
‘United States will clarify government and private sector roles and responsibilities and support a timely and responsive regulatory environment,’ the framework states.
‘U.S. regulations must provide clarity and certainty for the authorization and continuing supervision of non-governmental space activities, including for novel activities such as on-orbit servicing, orbital debris removal, space-based manufacturing, commercial human spaceflight, and recovery and use of space resources.’
Along with Harris officially unveiling the framework today, the meeting will also debut the new members of the National Space Council.
NASA will land the first woman and next man on the moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission
Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the moon in Greek mythology.
NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2024 – including the first woman and the next man.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the moon and Mars.
Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the moon and beyond.
During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.
It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the moon over the course of about a three-week mission.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission
Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.
With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars.
The will take crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans aboard.
Together, Orion, SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy will be able to meet the most challenging crew and cargo mission needs in deep space.
Eventually NASA seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.
The space agency hopes this colony will uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.