State of space industrial base report calls for national plan to compete with China

The report urges the U.S. government to develop a national space strategy that embraces the private sector as a key partner

WASHINGTON — For four consecutive years, the “State of the Space Industrial Base” report has denounced what it considers outdated thinking within the U.S. government about the use of commercial technologies in space programs.

The 2022 edition of the report, subtitled “Winning the New Space Race for Sustainability, Prosperity, and the Planet,” was written by military and civilian officials from the U.S. Space Force, Defense Innovation Unit, Department of the Air Force, and Air Force Research Laboratory .

The content of the 110-page report was developed during two workshops held earlier this year with over 250 participants. It echoes the themes of previous editionsarguing that the United States should define a strategy to remain a space superpower that sees the private sector as a key partner with government.

“China could overtake the United States in space superiority if we don’t increase our investment,” Michael Brown, director of the Defense Innovation Unit, said Aug. 24 at a Council of Defense event. the Atlantic to discuss the report.

Brown said the United States needs a “national vision” for investment and innovation in space to stay ahead of China. The report, for example, says the government needs to increase spending on space infrastructure such as mining, manufacturing and solar power in space, which would boost private investment.

The space economy is “deeply affected” by private investment, Brown said, meaning the government doesn’t have to bear all the costs.

“Therefore, what is needed to win the space race is the strengthening of public-private partnerships that emphasize commercial technology rather than bespoke systems,” he said. added. “We need to provide revenue from government contracts to these companies that are building the future of space.”

Steven “Bucky” Butow, director of the space portfolio at the Defense Innovation Unit, quoted the National Reconnaissance Office 10 year offers with three commercial imaging satellite operators as an example of how the government should work with the space industry.

“These are minteresting contracts by the NRO,” Butow said. “Now these companies can plan for the future because they are part of the government enterprise.”

Collar. Eric Felt, director of space architecture in the office of the Air Force assistant secretary for space acquisition and integration, said the report lays out ambitious goals and that achieving them will require cooperation and collaboration. important coordination between government agencies.

Felt, one of the report’s authors, said it was important to keep repeating recommendations made in previous years because “We still have a long way to go in these areas.” Sstrategic plans and long term visions are “hard things to do and we haven’t made enough progress”.

According to the report, “China is making steady progress toward its goal of overtaking the United States as the dominant space power by 2045.” Meanwhile, in the United States, “the agile engineering ecosystem that has become the hallmark of the new space age is under threat due to American policy and procurement practices for a different era that encompass static requirements”.

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