Next Step In Space, a coalition of over thirty businesses and organizations dedicated to scientific advancement and increased understanding of the Earth and our solar system through expanded human space flight, has announced their support for NASA’s new strategy for space exploration.
The President outlined an ambitious effort to foster the development of path-breaking technologies; increase the number, scope, and pace of manned and unmanned space missions; make human spaceflight safer and more efficient; and help create thousands of jobs. Included in his vision for NASA is a sequence of deep-space destinations matched to growing capabilities, progressing step-by-step until we are able to reach Mars.
The president stated that his administration is committed to a bold, new approach to human spaceflight, and is increasing the NASA budget by $6 billion over the next five years in order to embark on this ambitious strategy that will foster the development of path-breaking technologies, increase the reach and reduce the cost of human spaceflight, and help create thousands of new jobs.
He pointed out that this new strategy means more money for NASA, more jobs for the country, more astronaut time in space, and more investments in innovation. It will result in a longer operating lifetime for the International Space Station, new launch capabilities becoming available sooner, and a fundamentally more ambitious space strategy to take us to an increased number of destinations and to new frontiers in space. By undertaking this strategy, we will no longer rely on our past achievements, and instead embrace a new and bold course of innovation and discovery.
“Commercial space exploration is a supplemental avenue to increase innovation and participation in NASA’s incredibly valuable work,” said Tiffany Montague, Google, Inc. “There is room for both private and governmental entities in space, and this new proposal will allow NASA to focus on long term planning while lowering costs and opening space to a new generation of entrepreneurs and explorers.”
Next Step in Space supports the following important features in the President’s plan:
- Advances America’s commitment to human spaceflight and exploration of the solar system, with bold new vision and timetable for reaching new frontiers deeper in space.
- Increases NASA’s budget by $6 billion over 5 years.
- Leads to more than 2,500 additional jobs in Florida’s Kennedy Space Center area by 2012, as compared to the prior path.
- Begins major work on building a new heavy lift rocket sooner, with a commitment to decide in 2015 on the specific heavy-lift rocket that will take us deeper into space.
- Initiates a vigorous new technology development and test program to increase the capabilities and reduce the cost of future exploration activities.
- Launches a steady stream of precursor robotic exploration missions to scout locations and demonstrate technologies to increase the safety and capability of future human missions, while also providing scientific dividends.
- Jump starts a new commercial space transportation industry to provide safe and efficient crew and cargo transportation to the Space Station, projected to create over 10,000 jobs nationally over the next five years.
- Continues the development of a modified Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle to provide stand-by emergency escape capabilities for the International Space Station.
- Puts the space program on a more ambitious trajectory that pushes the frontiers of innovation to propel us on a new journey of innovation and discovery deeper into space.
“This new strategy will leverage private investment to create thousands of jobs across the country,” Commented Sierra Nevada Corporation Executive Vice President and Chairman Mark Sirangelo. “The commercial spaceflight sector looks forward to strengthening our partnerships with NASA and the US Government to help develop new technology that will deliver cargo, fuel, and crew to the International Space Station and for other low-Earth orbit missions.”
“Today President Obama eloquently articulated an inspiring future for American exploration of space,” noted Elon Musk, president of Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX). “His vision harnesses our nation’s unparalleled system of free enterprise and will ensure that America will remain the preeminent leader in space for decades to come. By leveraging the capabilities of the private sector, NASA can focus its vision and resources on goals beyond low-Earth orbit, with the long-range goal of establishing a human presence on Mars and ensuring the program is affordable enough to be sustained. Personally, I feel the same excitement that Americans must have felt in 1961, when JFK announced our commitment to put a man on the moon. SpaceX looks forward to playing a role in helping the President build on NASA’s extraordinary legacy and remarkable achievements, by unleashing American ingenuity and expanding the frontiers of technology and exploration.”
To date, more than thirty businesses and organizations have joined Next Step in Space. Members of the coalition include:
Anadarko Industries LLC
Analytical Graphics, Inc.
Associated Industries of Florida
Cisneros Innovation Strategies
Commercial Space Gateway
Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Esther Dyson/ED Ventures
Murphy International Enterprises
National AeroSpace Training and Research Center (NASTAR Center)
National Space Society (NSS)
Next Giant Leap
Odyssey Moon LLC
Odyssey Space Research
Paul Price Enterprises
Phillips & Company
Sierra Nevada Corporation
Space Coast Economic Development Commission
Space Frontier Foundation
Space Infrastructure Foundation, Inc.
Space Tourism Society (STS)
Special Aerospace Services, LLC