The White House released at around 2 pm EDT today the administration’s new national space policy, along with a fact sheet and a statement by the president about the policy. A quick glance through the policy (and comparison to the 2006 policy issued by the Bush Administration) reveals a few initial impressions:
- The new policy seems to emphasize a greater need for international cooperation but also greater responsibility by all spacefaring nations. A quote from the introduction: “All nations have the right to use and explore space, but with this right also comes responsibility. The United States, therefore, calls on all nations to work together to adopt approaches for responsible activity in space to preserve this right for the benefit of future generations.”
- The new policy appears to walk back some of the more strident (in the eyes of critics) language of the 2006 policy, taking out the US-first emphasis some saw in the older policy. Compare this quote from the 2006 policy’s principles section—”Consistent with this principle, ‘peaceful purposes’ allow U.S. defense and intelligence-related activities in pursuit of national interests.”—with the related portion of the new policy: “Consistent with this principle, ‘peaceful purposes’ allows for space to be used for national and homeland security activities.”
- There is a greater emphasis on promoting commercial space in the new policy. However, some might find the portion of the policy dealing with export control lacking, given the interest in ITAR reform. The new policy notes that “…space-related items that are determined to be generally available in the global marketplace shall be considered favorably with a view that such exports are usually in the national interests of the United States.” That’s similar to the 2006 policy, which noted that “space-related exports that are currently available or are planned to be available in the global marketplace shall be considered favorably.”
What else do you see, or don’t see, in the new policy?