On December 11, 2017, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 (SPD1), which called for the United States to “lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization” while working with “commercial and international partners.”
“The National Space Society [NSS] worked to inform the new Administration regarding its views on space policy options over the last year, and is pleased to see that two of the Society’s recommendations have been adopted,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. “A few months ago the National Space Council was set up, led by Vice-President Pence, with NSS Board of Governors member and former NSS Executive Vice President Dr. Scott Pace as the Executive Secretary. The just adopted SPD1 calls for the U.S. to return to the Moon. Both of these key objectives have long-standing NSS support, and were recommended to the new Administration at a workshop organized by NSS and hosted by the venture capital firm DFJ.” The output of that workshop can be found at http://www.nss.org/legislative/positions/NSS-DFJ-Workshop-Recommendations-Nov-2016.pdf.
“NSS has long called for a commercially based return to the Moon that focuses on the utilization of local lunar resources,” said NSS Senior Vice President Bruce Pittman. “We look forward with great anticipation to working with NASA, Congress, and the Administration to enable a human return to the Moon, this time to stay. A return to the Moon leading to a permanent settlement on the Moon is a key step in the NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement (http://www.nss.org/settlement/roadmap/RoadmapPart4.html). Milestones 10 through 13 in the Roadmap relate to Space Policy Directive 1, and Milestone #10, “Robotic Confirmation of Lunar Resources” should be a top priority for NASA under this new directive.”
Mark Hopkins, the Chair of the NSS Executive Committee, added, “NSS is pleased that Space Policy Directive 1 calls for a return to the Moon with international and commercial partners. NSS, via its United Nations representation and network of international chapters, has been working for decades to ensure that the development and settlement of space involves the entire human race. NSS will be urging NASA to build on the public-private partnerships which currently support the International Space Station, to bring them outward into cis-lunar space, leading eventually to a wide range of self-sustaining enterprises on and around the Moon.”
The National Space Society (NSS) calls attention to Jerry Hendrix and Adam Routh of the Center for New American Security (CNAS) for their October 23rd essay: “A Space Policy for the Trump Administration” (https://www.cnas.org/publications/reports/a-space-policy-for-the-trump-administration).
The CNAS authors favor expansion and freeing of the commercial space sector to fully harness the resources and wealth of solar system, noting that “the pursuit of space-based economic opportunities, and a desire to colonize celestial bodies have been among the main motivators in recent decades.” This is very consistent with National Space Society’s Statement of Philosophy and Space Settlement Roadmap.
Hendrix and Routh continue: “The United States’ broader space efforts should encourage the development of the commercial space sector by enabling the civil space sector to blaze a pioneering trail. Reestablishing a U.S. presence on the Moon in the form of raw materials mining, and then developing an orbital manufacturing ‘shipyard’ in lunar orbit to produce reusable trans-planetary ships for transport and colonization, should be the first steps for much-needed assurances. There are ample resources on the Moon, and the lower gravity of the Earth’s satellite would make it cheaper to lift construction materials into orbit.”