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This event will be held in a hybrid format, and the Potomac Institute will welcome a limited number of individuals to attend in-person at their Arlington Headquarters (901 N. Stuart Street, Arlington, VA 22203). Participants will have to opportunity to indicate their interest in the registration form. The Institute adheres to the most current CDC recommendations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and all in-person attendees will be required to attest to their vaccination status.
About the Event
Global space activity is growing. It is more competitive and driving technological advances at a rapid rate with much at stake for the United States. In recent years, significant increases in private investment, technological advances, and renewed international interest from global partners and adversaries alike have spurred the space ecosystem towards increased activity in both near Earth and beyond Earth domains. While the Space Race of the 1960s had a very tangible end goal of putting the first man on the Moon, what will it take for the U.S. to remain competitive in space moving forward?
The U.S. must consider long-term, forward-thinking plans as competition in the space domain accelerates—a vision for security and prosperity. The commercial space sector offers enormous economic promise. In 2021 alone, fourteen civilians flew in space through international space tourism venues. Space technologies have revolutionized terrestrial capabilities from medical care to materials R&D to telecommunications and will further enable critical future capabilities such as autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and advanced global connectivity. How might we best incentivize and leverage commercial space endeavors to assure America’s competitiveness in the future?
Space research is a global endeavor. Multinational projects such as the International Space Station demonstrate the impact of international collaboration and cooperation in a traditionally harsh and unrelenting environment. And, while more domestic and international actors like China and India are entering or increasing investment in the space domain, NASA’s role in spaceflight is diminishing and government funding of space exploration has declined. What is the right balance between our collective scientific pursuit of space and continued assurance of U.S. national security and economic competitiveness?
Not only is the commercial space sector growing rapidly, but there is also a rapid rise in spacefaring actors with ambiguous intentions and unknown capabilities. Countries like Russia and China are investing in both civilian and military space programs, spurring questions about intentions and how new technological capabilities might threaten U.S. economic and security interests. Investments span from intelligence to reconnaissance and surveillance, all well beyond human space exploration and related R&D, and thereby representing possible threats to U.S. military advantages and broader national interests. As such, space has been identified as warfighting domain, recognized by the U.S. in standing up the U.S. Space Force in 2019. Where should the U.S. focus future investments in capabilities to assure necessary military advantage in space?
Ultimately, the way we view space, understand it, and look to its prospective opportunities and challenges in the future, is evolving. The U.S. has an opportunity to lead and work with partners across the globe into the next era of space activity. That journey must include pursuit of competitive advantages that foster greater economic growth and enhance national security. This, however, requires us to be ready for today’s needs and anticipate tomorrow’s challenges in an increasingly competitive and technologically demanding space ecosystem.
Dr. Jerry Krassner, Member of the Board of Regents at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
The Honorable Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Former Astronaut; Former Undersecretary/Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Member of the Board of Regents at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
Mr. Thomas Messegee, Spacecraft Design Consultant and Engineer
Dr. Samantha Weeks, Mission Director, Science & Research, at Polaris Dawn and Vice President, Corporate Transformation, at Shift4 Payments
About the Project
The Global Competition Project (GCP) commissions a spectrum of experts from diverse fields to present insights as to the primary challenges/opportunities associated with societal level competition in the Information Age. The Potomac Institute will host a series of seminars to foster animated discussion on a variety of topics important to the Institute’s work – and global societal interaction – and publish associated articles on the topics.