"Our long term success and leadership as a nation demand that we do not lose sight of the promise of the future," said U.S. President Barack Obama upon the release of his administration's new National Space Policy. "That is why we seek to spur a burgeoning commercial space industry, to rapidly increase our capabilities in space while bolstering America’s competitive edge in the global economy."
U.S. space programs’ contributions to the welfare of the global community are immense. Applications on Earth of technology needed for space flight and space operations have produced thousands of innovations in health and medicine, transportation, public safety and national security, consumer goods, environmental and agricultural science, computer technology, and industrial productivity. It is almost impossible to find an area of everyday life that has not been improved by research and technology developed for scientific or national security purposes in U.S. space programs.
And now, seeking to even further expand the contributions of our space programs and capabilities in helping solve contemporary as well as future challenges, President Obama seeks to enhance the use of space technology for studying and monitoring global climate change and the environment. And he extended an invitation to the private sector by announcing that the government will use space-related research and development to bolster U.S. industry. It will also seek partners in the private sector to develop new technologies for human space travel, including commercial flights to the International Space Station.
"We set ambitious goals for NASA: ramping up robotic and human space exploration, with our sights set on Mars and beyond, to improve the capacity of human beings to learn and work safely beyond the Earth for extended periods of time," said President Obama. "We do not fear the future; we embrace the future. ... We harness the ingenuity and talents of our people, we set bold goals for our nation, and we lead the world toward new frontiers. That is what has ensured our prosperity in the past," he said. "And that is what will ensure our prosperity in this new century as well."
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "As long as humankind has dreamed, we have looked to the heavens, the planet and stars have been our signposts and inspirations, our irresistible call to exploration and the spark to human creativity. We must do all we can to preserve space’s limitless promise for future generations who gaze skyward."