Space Policy for Beginners

Space policy 101: civil space 2009 by Dwayne Day

One of the inherent features of bureaucracies is that they deal poorly with uncertainty. In a leadership vacuum nobody wants to make decisions and thus activities slam to a halt. That was clearly one of the unspoken themes during an all-day June 2 space policy symposium in Washington, DC sponsored by the Space Policy Institute. For the civil spaceflight part of the symposium numerous space policy experts indicated that NASA’s bold plans for the future of human spaceflight were all on hold until after a high-level independent review is finished later this summer.

Titled “Aligning Policies and Budgets,” you might assume that such a wonkish discussion would not attract much attention. But surprisingly, there were over 130 people in attendance at The George Washington University’s classy Jack Morton Auditorium on the Foggy Bottom campus—perhaps twice the number that one would normally expect to attend such an event.

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