Civil space includes the exploration of space, advancing space and aeronautics technologies, and observing and understanding our solar system and home planet, including the Earth’s climate and weather.
AIA Position StatementLook Toward the Future
AIA Civil Space Responsibilities
AIA’s Space Division coordinates the positions of AIA member companies on civil space related issues, plans, funding, regulatory rules and policies for government agencies. Responsibilities include supporting the development of NASA’s space and technology programs and their supporting infrastructures, as well as tracking government space-related science activities, such as space science, meteorology, Earth science and remote sensing at NASA, NOAA, USGS, and other agencies. Current legislative and budgetary priorities include the FY24 CJS Approps Letter and the FY24 THUD Approps Letter.
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AIA Civil Space Priorities
- Maintain major program continuity. Space programs require multi-year planning and stable budgets given their complexity. As found by the National Research Council’s comprehensive assessment of human spaceflight and evidenced by the continuation of the commercial crew program, continuity and stability will create historic and sustainable achievements in the coming decade. This will be especially important for the return of humans to deep space, the launch of important robotic missions to other planets and their natural satellites, the development and deployment of next generation in-space observatories, and the first U.S. commercial landers to return U.S. astronauts to the Moon. This continuity can also lead to fundamental shifts in our scientific understanding of our planet, Sun, solar system, and the universe through ambitious robotic missions that push the frontiers of technology.
- Maintain a balanced NASA portfolio across its exploration, science, aeronautics, space technology, and STEM programs.
- Continue NASA’s Artemis Program to the Moon and Mars, including use of the Space Launch System and Exploration Upper Stage, Orion, Gateway, Human Landing Systems, Gateway resupply capabilities, and spacesuits, as well as scientific discovery through the Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program and Commercial Lunar Payload Services.
- Expand U.S. space leadership. Maintain U.S. international leadership in low Earth orbit through the International Space Station and expand U.S.-led international partnerships through NASA’s Artemis program.
- Extend International Space Station (ISS) operations to 2030 and fund low Earth orbit (LEO) commercial destinations. Maintain a continuous U.S. human presence in space by extending ISS operations, associated cargo and crew transportation programs, and microgravity research programs to ensure human space exploration and scientific research efforts are maximized. Fund efforts to spur US private industry activity in LEO, including commercial use of the ISS and future in-space habitats, as NASA expands US human presence beyond LEO. ISS Support Letter.
- Invest in next generation aeronautics technologies. Complete the supersonic X-59 and hybrid-electric X-57 demonstrators and begin an integrated X-plane program to advance environmental performance. Continue hypersonics and urban air mobility (UAM)research and partnerships. Revisit national aeronautics research priorities since the last National Academies Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics in 2006.
- Continue decadal survey-based science missions, which keep the nation on the cutting edge of advancements in fundamental issues such as the search for life and the long-term variability of the Earth weather system. Science missions provide a platform for international collaboration and career opportunities for the next generation of innovators and are executed in direct support of National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Decadal Surveys priorities, including James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Roman/Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), Mars Sample Return, and Europa Clipper.
- Carry out the National Academies’ 2017 Earth science decadal survey priorities, including Earth Venture Class programs, a new line of Explorer-class missions, and an Incubator Program. Earth Science Paper
- Maintain an independent NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) with continued investments in nuclear power and nuclear propulsion systems; solar electric propulsion demonstrations; small satellite technologies; on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing; in-situ resource utilization; and the Flight Opportunities Program.
- Fund NOAA’s next generation weather systems acquisition strategy to develop the next generation of geostationary and low Earth orbit satellite systems.
- Expand microgravity research aboard suborbital and orbital research platforms.
- Maintain an independent NASA STEM education program and fund STEM programs across science and space agencies.
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AIA’s space leadership team is well-positioned to address members’ issues and advocacy needs.
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Our members continue to provide the space-based capabilities critical to ensuring American leadership in space, growing our economy, and keeping our country safe.