Mid- and Long-term Prospects for Human Spaceflight
February 23, 2009
The CSIS Space Initiatives project promotes global space exploration as we move into the twenty-first century. The next decade, ushered in by the new U.S. president and his administration, will be crucial to space exploration. Indeed, during the next decade, the Space Shuttle will have to be retired, the International Space Station (ISS) made a visible success, and humans returned to the moon. In fact, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently identified retirement of the Space Shuttle as one of the 13 most urgent issues that the new administration will need to address.
Accordingly, CSIS put together a select working group to provide objective, bipartisan, and pragmatic insights into this complex set of issues. The first working group meeting took place on November 14, 2008, and brought together representatives from the U.S. government, industry, international partners, and policy associations to define the foreseeable gaps and explore the consequences of these gaps for the future of human spaceflight. A second working group meeting, on December 8, 2008, evaluated scenarios for mitigating the gaps, keeping in mind budgetary, political, foreign policy, and technical objectives and constraints. This report reviews the issues involved and makes recommendations for the middle and long term.