Space and Advanced Technology

The Office of Space and Advanced Technology (OES/SAT) ensures that U.S. space policies and multilateral science activities support U.S. foreign policy objectives and enhance U.S. space and technological competitiveness.

OES/SAT has primary responsibility for U.S. representation to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), where a wide range of space policy issues are discussed.  Established in 1959, the Committee developed the Outer Space Treaty and three related UN conventions and non-binding principles, which serve as the bedrock of international space governance framework. More recently UNCOPUOS has been a vital forum for U.S. efforts to develop new international guidelines on emerging issues such as minimizing the generation of orbital debris and ensuring safe space operations and sustainable access to space. OES/SAT maintains the official U.S. registry of objects launched into outer space, oversees implementation of the 1998 Intergovernmental Agreement on the International Space Station, and leads U.S Government consultations with other countries and international organizations on space policy and law. The office also leads interagency coordination on all civil space-related international agreements implementing important NASA, NOAA, and USGS cooperation with other space agency partners, and plays a key role in the implementation of National Space Policy focused on dual-use space applications such as global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), satellite-based earth observation, and the monitoring of physical phenomena in the Sun-Earth system (space weather).

Currently, OES/SAT is coordinating a broad diplomatic effort to encourage acceptance of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) as a worldwide standard for satellite-based navigation. Over the past 15 years, GPS has grown into a global public asset whose multi-use services are integral to U.S. national security, economic growth, transportation safety, and homeland security, and are an essential element of the worldwide economic infrastructure. 

OES/SAT represents the State Department in a range of international deliberations that promote U.S. leadership in key areas of advanced technology. The Office leads an interagency effort to coordinate U.S. international activities in the area of nanotechnology, which offers the potential for major breakthroughs in energy, water, manufacturing and other fields, and leads U.S. government participation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP) and its subsidiary Working Party on Bio-, Nano-, and Converging Technologies (BNCT).  Similarly, the Office represents the State Department in the negotiation and implementation of the ITER nuclear fusion test reactor project through the ITER organization, and other multilateral science organizations.