Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a National In-Space Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing (ISAM) Implementation Plan to advance the United States’ strategic vision outlined in the first-ever ISAM National Strategy which outlines ways to build capabilities and technologies in space, consistent with the U.S. Space Priorities Framework. The development of ISAM capabilities represents the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to scientific and technological innovation, economic growth, commercial development, a skilled workforce that represents all of America, and international collaboration in space.
ISAM capabilities have the potential to open new possibilities for U.S. commercial industry and American workers to build, repair, and transport objects in space. Projects like the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station were assembled in space by both humans and robots. The era of in-space servicing and assembly is new and growing – and the potential is unbounded.
With the new opportunities ISAM affords, global space operators will have access to technologies that can increase satellite lifetimes; move, tug, or deorbit satellites to avoid debris or to perform end-of-life maneuvers; inspect satellites for damage; maintain, refuel, and upgrade existing satellites; and build and operate larger, more complex systems in space that do not need to be designed to withstand the severe launch environment.
The Biden-Harris Administration is coordinating its civil, commercial, and national security space efforts to implement ISAM capabilities to strengthen US leadership and ensure those benefits are broadly and equitably applied throughout society. American ISAM space activities can make contributions to challenges the Administration is committed to tackling such as the climate crisis, and increasing opportunity for current and future generations.
The ISAM National Strategy empowered U.S. entities to develop multi-purpose technologies to enable a new space economy on Earth and in space. Six strategic goals, which build on existing investments and emerging capabilities, and chart a course for using a national approach to realize the opportunities enabled by ISAM are:
(1) advancing ISAM research and development;
(2) prioritizing the expansion of scalable infrastructure;
(3) accelerating the emerging ISAM commercial industry;
(4) promoting international collaboration and cooperation to achieve ISAM goals;
(5) prioritizing environmental sustainability as we move forward with ISAM capabilities;
(6) inspiring a diverse future workforce as a potential outcome of ISAM innovation.
Developed through consultation with stakeholders across the U.S. government, academia, non-profit, and commercial sectors, the National ISAM Implementation Plan outlines activities for the United States to lead in a future of space exploration in which American firms and workers are manufacturing, assembling, and repairing in space systems orbit, around the Moon, and in deep space.