America's Future in Space - Aligning the Civil Space Pgm. w.

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Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. S. Civil Space Activities The United States faces major challenges today: these include ensuring national security, providing clean and affordable energy, preventing environmental degradation, meeting 21st-century needs for education, sustaining global economic competitiveness, improving technologies for transportation and medical care, and promoting beneficial international relations. S. civil space program has become a major force to be applied in meeting those challenges.

S. civil space program will • Put humans at the frontier in space, continually expanding the capability to move and work away from Earth, with each step enabling the next. Human spaceflight to explore the interesting and useful places in the solar system will necessarily be an extended activity. It will take a century or longer. And the presence of humans beyond Earthreestablishing a sense of frontiermay be just as important as exploiting resources elsewhere in the solar system. It will take centuries more to protect against human extinction from cataclysmic events on Earth by having a permanent large human presence beyond Earth.

Each step, which should be achievable within a small fraction of a human lifespan, should advance the ability to take the next step in the sustained expansion of the range of human action. International Space Station The International Space Station (ISS) provides an important capability in preparing for an expansion of the frontiers of human activity in space. 5). Future steps into space will build on the lessons learned through ISS design and construction. NASA should thus focus use of the now-completed ISS on such important technical challenges as demonstration that operationally significant quantities of water can be reused; development of the largely autonomous crew operations required for exploration of deep space; and rigorous investigation of space medical issues that could, for example, support a decision on whether a spacecraft that provides a partial-gravity environment is required for very-long-duration missions.

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