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The Pitfalls of Labeling Whole Space Missions as Inherently Governmental

The Department of Defense (DOD) will soon release two strategies aimed at harnessing commercial space capabilities for national security needs. Defense officials have said that the strategy to be released by the U.S. Space Force will categorize certain space missions as “inherently governmental,” with mission criticality influencing which missions fall into this group. While well meaning, this approach does…

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Mission Authorization: Decoding the Space Policy Dilemma

On November 15, 2023, the White House’s National Space Council released a legislative proposal that would create a licensing process for private sector novel space activities, called mission authorization, consistent with U.S. obligations under the Outer Space Treaty (OST) of 1967. Meanwhile, Congress and a government-chartered space advisory group have offered their own proposals. While all parties acknowledge…

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Another Leap Forward: India’s Historic Moon Landing and the Space Competition Underway

Critical Questions is produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s)….

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Does the FY24 Budget Request Reflect Defense Priorities?

This commentary was originally published by the National Security Space Association on May 30, 2023, as part of a compilation of views on the U.S. Space Force budget from national security space experts. While this is the fourth budget request for the U.S. Space Force, it is the first since the release of the Biden administration’s National…

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When Elephants Fight in Space

There is an insightful African proverb that says, “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” The same can be said for when states launch kinetic anti-satellite tests that produce harmful clouds of debris. Not only do these destructive tests—such as the Russian Federation’s missile test on November 15—undermine a sustainable space environment for all, but as the commercial…

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The ASAT Prisoner’s Dilemma: Making the Case for U.S. Leadership and a Unilateral Moratorium on Kinetic-Energy Anti-Satellite Testing

On the 15th anniversary of the first post-Cold War kinetic-energy ASAT test, it’s time for the U.S. to take a stance   Over 70 years ago, two RAND researchers structured the fundamental tenets in game theory of what later became known as “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” – a description of a situation in which two perfectly…

Congressional Testimony: NASA’s Future in Low Earth Orbit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlUNxnEpdfA The following testimony was presented to the House Science, Space, & Technology Committee during its “NASA’s Future in Low Earth Orbit: Considerations for ISS Extension and Transition” hearing on September 21, 2021.  Download Testimony Chairman Beyer, Ranking Member Babin, and distinguished members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify…

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