At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the American space program is going through particularly turbulent times. Many believe that America has lost its vision and focus, and that we will consequently abdicate our leadership role in space exploration and innovation to other international space faring nations. There are many indicators that if we continue on our present path this will certainly happen.
As a participant in and as an observer of the American space program for over forty years, my intent here is to provide personal insights on the evolution of the U.S. space ‘culture’ from its Apollo era to the present, with the thought that many positive aspects of this evolution could provide a path to enable the space commerce enterprise to rapidly emerge and thrive.
Likewise there are a number of deeply rooted political, financial, and social issues that could impede progress in development of the U.S. as a leader in space commerce, and these also bear examination.
|This paper was first published as part of Space Commerce, The Inside Story, published by the Aerospace Technology Working Group (ATWG) and included on this site through the courtesy of ATWG, ISU and the individual authors.
Other extracts from this publication can be found here.