The President’s National Strategy for Space establishes forthrightly that securing the scientific, commercial, and national security benefits of space is a top priority for this Administration. OES/SAT is advancing the Strategy’s whole-of-government approach to United States leadership in space on several fronts. We strive for outcomes in international fora that are consistent with U.S. interests; foster conducive domestic and international environments for U.S. companies conducting space activities; and pursue bilateral and multilateral engagements to enable space science and exploration, resilient space services, and burden sharing. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, with 107 nations as parties, is considered the backbone of international space law and diplomacy, and an important tool to ensure the peaceful exploration and use of space.
EXPLORATION & COMMERCIALIZATION
The International Space Station is an unprecedented achievement in global human endeavors to plan, build, operate, and utilize a research platform in space, providing over 17 years of continuous human presence in space. The President’s Space Policy Directive 1 (SPD-1) will return American astronauts to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to other destinations. OES/SAT is working with NASA and the Department of Commerce to further enable cooperation with our international and private industry partners to implement SPD-1 and to develop the infrastructure and policies to spur economic growth in space consistent with Space Policy Directive 2 (SPD-2), focused on the commercial use of space. Currently, the global space economy is estimated at $348 billion, with the satellite industry representing 79% of the space economy, employing more than 200,000 Americans in areas such as manufacturing, telecoms, earth observation, and ground equipment.
PRESERVING OUTER SPACE
Our society depends on space technologies and space-based capabilities for communications, navigation, weather forecasting, and much more. These are now at risk due to a significant increase in the volume and diversity of space activity. Since 2013, there has been a 49% increase in the number of satellites with entities from 60+ countries operating more than 1,700 satellites. U.S. entities operate almost half of these satellites, some in partnership with other nations. Space Policy Directive 3 (SPD-3) sets a new approach for space traffic management that will enable our nation to address current and future operational risks. OES/SAT is leading efforts related to international transparency, space object registry, promoting best practices for space safety, and the preservation of the space environment.
GLOBAL NAVIGATION SATELLITE SYSTEMS
The enormous scientific, economic and national security benefits provided by the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) has encouraged other countries to pursue regional or global navigation satellite systems, e.g., Europe (Galileo), Japan (QZSS), India (NAVIC), China (Beidou), and Russia (GLONASS). Per National Space Policy guidance, OES/SAT leads the U.S. effort to establish and maintain a system of compatible and inter-operable civil global navigation satellite services with U.S.-based GPS at the core, providing properly equipped users with improved accuracy and increased availability through free and open civil signals. As a result, consumers and industry have a more robust and reliable service, and U.S. industry can sell multi-system goods and services in the United States (~ $60 billion market) and around the world.
SATELLITE-BASED EARTH OBSERVATION
Orbital satellites are revolutionizing our understanding of many critical earth system processes, including disaster warning and relief, agricultural productivity, epidemic outbreaks, climate, and weather. OES/SAT is advancing interagency efforts to implement international arrangements and promote cooperation on Earth observation satellite systems. For example, under an arrangement with the European Union, U.S. government agencies can access products and services from the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service, at no cost to the United States. In combination with U.S. satellite data, these maps are critical tools in our response to natural and man-made disasters.