Maintaining U.S. Preeminence in Low Earth Orbit
By Dr. Ezinne Uzo-Okoro, OSTP Assistant Director for Space Policy
The United States holds the preeminent global position in space thanks to steadfast investments in space research and technology development, and strategic partnerships and collaborations.
As we work to further explore the Moon and Mars, the use of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) grows, and the International Space Station begins its phased retirement, it is crucial that we maintain preeminence in space research. That’s why today the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is releasing the Biden-Harris Administration’s vision for U.S. leadership in the future research and development (R&D) in LEO.
The National Low Earth Orbit Research and Development Strategy outlines how the nation can realize and institutionalize the scientific, economic, diplomatic, and educational benefits of LEO research platforms for the future. Specifically, it identifies five policy objectives and supporting activities for U.S. leadership in LEO:
- Advance groundbreaking science and technology by conducting transformational R&D and enabling rapid, repeatable science in space.
- Strengthen U.S. government collaboration and partnerships by encouraging new entrants in R&D through a LEO National Laboratory, promoting data sharing, and prioritizing sustainable access to LEO.
- Promote market opportunities, innovation, and sustainability by adapting non-traditional use cases, enabling equitable access on future platforms, and addressing economic and regulatory barriers to market space-based R&D.
- Expand international cooperation by exploring more opportunities for collaboration, and implementing human spaceflight safety coordination.
- Stimulate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development, including by increasing opportunities for people from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM, and building capacity in institutions.
This strategy was developed by federal experts, with input from leaders across academia, non-profit, and commercial sectors. It will ensure the United States remains the global leader and partner of choice for orbital platforms and other space research facilities for decades to come.