A major report from the State of the Space Industrial Base 2021 Workshop, held in New Mexico in July, was released on Wednesday 17 November. It outlined the critical importance of space development and human settlement, and incorporated input from 250 subject matter experts from industry, government, and academia. The report was published jointly by the Defense Innovation Unit, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the U.S. Space Force. The National Space Society (NSS), NASA Administrator, and Space Force Chief of Space Operations support their new vision for America’s space efforts.
An important component of the report was the call to make the development and settlement of space a part of America’s national vision for space. NSS has long called for this national focus, and support from major components of the U.S. government is a huge step forward.
The report also highlights the potential contributions of space to healing our planet’s environment and calls for a national program for space solar power enabling the delivery of clean, emissions-free energy from space. NSS has supported space solar power as a key to a bright future in space for decades—an initiative pioneered in the U.S. in the 1970s. This initiative, reflected in a new NSS position paper, Clean Energy from Space: Has Space Solar Power’s Time Come?, found here, could not be more urgent given the slow progress on low-carbon energy sources and the recent interest by U.S. friends and allies.