SPACE AGENDA 2021: Informing the Future of Space

Space exploration, development, and security are increasingly important elements of national policy and strategy. Inevitably, the presidential term starting in 2021 will include the need for many high-level decisions on space-related issues. Aerospace has created a series of discussion papers—Space Agenda 2021—on topics already at the forefront, or likely to emerge in the next few years.

From evolving adversary threats to game-changing technologies to emerging commercial capabilities, the space enterprise is in an era of rapid change. This moment presents countless opportunities to shape the future of space. Challenges will have to be addressed, whether it’s managing space traffic and orbital debris, integrating new commercial operators or preparing for a new era of contested space. 

Space Agenda 2021, is a series of papers highlighting issues already at the forefront of U.S. space policy or are likely to emerge in the coming years. Each paper serves as a chapter in the full Space Agenda 2021 report, offering concise backgrounds, astute analyses, and potential options to aid government decisionmakers, industry leaders and other space stakeholders. 

Project Thor

Outpacing the Threat

This is a critical moment for the U.S. and its allies in space. As the space domain becomes more crowded and contested, potential adversaries are developing new capabilities that threaten national security and interests. These papers offer insights into key topics and trends that must be considered in order to continuously outpace the threat.

Developing a Foundational Spacepower Doctrine: Fostering an Independent Space-Minded Culture and Identity - Peter Hays, Russell Rumbaugh, Michael Gleason
A Roadmap for Assessing Space Weapons - Michael Gleason, Peter Hays
What Place for Space: Competing Schools of Operational Thought - Russell Rumbaugh
Organizing for Defense Space: Balancing Support for the Joint Force and Independent Space Operations - Russell Rumbaugh, Peter Hays, Michael Gleason
Getting the Most Deterrent Value from U.S. Space Forces - Michael Gleason,  Peter Hays
Noninterference with National Technical Means: The Status Quo Will Not SurviveMichael Gleason, Luc Riesbeck
Leveraging Commercial Space for National Security - Jamie Morin, Sam Wilson
Continuous Production Agility: Future-Proofing the National Security Space Enterprise - Karen Jones, Geoffrey Reber
The Future of Ubiquitous, Realtime Intelligence: A GEOINT Singularity - Josef Koller
Space-Enabled Persistence and Transparency in the Arctic to Support Infrastructure and National Security Needs - Karen Jones, Lina Cashin


Human Spaceflight

Expanding Frontiers

As the nation’s space capabilities continue to advance, leveraging new innovations and partnerships with the commercial sector and international allies can create new opportunities to augment U.S. government missions. These papers discuss key ideas and topics that will help shape the trajectory and expectations for this expansion of new frontiers.

To the Moon and Beyond: Challenges and Opportunities for NASA’s Artemis Program - Angie Bukley
Cislunar Development: What to Build and Why - James Vedda
Human Spaceflight Safety: Regulatory Issues and Mitigating Concepts - Josef Koller, George Nield
Emerging Issues in New Space Services: Technology, Law, and Regulatory Oversight - Josef Koller, Rebecca Reesman, Tyler Way
Public-Private Partnerships: Stimulating Innovation in the Space SectorKaren Jones
Space Traffic Management in the Age of New Space Policy Paper Image

Managing the Growth in Space Traffic

Technological advances and new commercial entrants are lowering the barriers of entry to put spacecraft on orbit. While this trend provides promising opportunities, issues such as an increasingly congested orbit, impact on existing operations, and long-term sustainability must be addressed. These papers highlight some of the key issues in keeping space accessible and safe for the growing enterprise.

Space Traffic Management: The Challenge of Large Constellations, Orbital Debris, and the Rapid Changes in Space Operations - Marlon Sorge, William Ailor, Ted Muelhaupt
Slash the Trash: Incentivizing Deorbit - Rebecca Reesman, Michael Gleason, Layla Bryant, and Colleen Stover
Airspace Integration in an Era of Growing Launch Operations - Robert Unverzagt
Light Pollution from Satellites - Josef Koller, Luc Riesbeck, Roger Thompson 
Cislunar Stewardship: Planning for Sustainability and International Cooperation - George Pollock IV and James Vedda
Developing a Sustainable Spectrum Approach to Deliver 5G Services and Critical Weather Forecasts - David Lubar, David Kunkee, and Lina Cashin
George Washington in Mercury-era space suit

Leading in a Time of Change

Space leadership has enduring importance, yet it seems to mean different things to different people. Shaping the future of space must account for the domain’s rapidly evolving complexities as a physical, political, economic, and threat environment. These papers explore the challenges, priorities and potential strategies for a modern space enterprise.

Space Leadership in Transition - James Vedda
Strategic Foresight: Addressing Uncertainty in Long-Term Strategic Planning - Kara Cunzeman, Robin Dickey
Space Game Changers: Driving Forces and Implications for Innovation Investments - Karen Jones
Defense Space Partnerships: A Strategic Priority - Sam Wilson, Colleen Stover, Steven Jordan Tomaszewski
Space-Based Solar Power: A Near-Term Investment Decision - James Vedda, Karen Jones
Survey of Space-Related Political Appointees and Offices in U.S. Government - Robin Dickey, Colleen Stover

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