[National Security Presidential Directives - NSPDs]
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U.S. National Space Policy

The President authorized a new national space policy on August 31, 2006 that establishes overarching national policy that governs the conduct of U.S. space activities. This policy supersedes Presidential Decision Directive/NSC-49/NSTC-8, National Space Policy, dated September 14, 1996.

1. Background

For five decades, the United States has led the world in space exploration and use and has developed a solid civil, commercial, and national security space foundation. Space activities have improved life in the United States and around the world, enhancing security, protecting lives and the environment, speeding information flow, serving as an engine for economic growth, and revolutionizing the way people view their place in the world and the cosmos. Space has become a place that is increasingly used by a host of nations, consortia, businesses, and entrepreneurs.

In this new century, those who effectively utilize space will enjoy added prosperity and security and will hold a substantial advantage over those who do not. Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power. In order to increase knowledge, discovery, economic prosperity, and to enhance the national security, the United States must have robust, effective, and efficient space capabilities.

2. Principles

The conduct of U.S. space programs and activities shall be a top priority, guided by the following principles:

3. United States Policy Goals

The fundamental goals of this policy are to:

4. General Guidelines

In order to achieve the goals of this policy, the United States Government shall:

5. National Security Space Guidelines

United States national security is critically dependent upon space capabilities, and this dependence will grow. The Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence, after consulting, as appropriate, the Secretary of State and other heads of departments and agencies, and consistent with their respective responsibilities as set forth in the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, Title 10, U.S.C. and Title 50 U.S.C., the National Security Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, and other applicable law, shall:

To achieve the goals of this policy, the Secretary of Defense shall:

To achieve the goals of this policy, the Director of National Intelligence shall:

6. Civil Space Guidelines

The United States shall increase the benefits of civil exploration, scientific discovery, and operational environmental monitoring activities. To the end, the Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall: execute a sustained and affordable human and robotic program of space exploration and develop, acquire, and use civil space systems to advance fundamental scientific knowledge of our Earth system, solar system, and universe.

The Secretary of Commerce, through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shall in coordination with the Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, be responsible for operational civil environmental space-based remote sensing systems and management of the associated requirements and acquisition process as follows:

The Secretary of the Interior, through the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, shall collect, archive, process, and distribute land surface data to the United States Government and other users and determine operational requirements for land surface data.

The United States will study the Earth system from space and develop new space-based and related capabilities to advance scientific understanding and enhance civil space-based Earth observation. In particular:

The United States will utilize government and commercial space-based and related capabilities wherever feasible to enhance disaster warning, monitoring, and response activities; and take a leadership role in international fora to establish a long-term plan for coordination of an integrated global Earth observation system and promote the adoption of policies internationally that facilitate full and open access to government environmental data on equitable terms.

7. Commercial Space Guidelines

It is in the interest of the United States to foster the use of U.S. commercial space capabilities around the globe and to enable a dynamic, domestic commercial space sector. To this end, departments and agencies shall:

8. International Space Cooperation

The United States Government will pursue, as appropriate, and consisten with U.S. national security interests, international cooperation with foreign nations and/or consortia on space activities that are of mutual benefit and that further the peaceful exploration and use of space, as well as to advance national security, homeland security, and foreign policy objectives. Areas for potential international cooperation include, but are not limited to:

The Secretary of State, after consultation with the heads of appropriate Departments and Agencies, shall carry out diplomatic and public diplomacy efforts, as appropriate, to build an understanding of and support for U.S. national space policies and programs and to encourage the use of U.S. space capabilities by friends and allies.

9. Space Nuclear Power

Where space nuclear power systems safely enable or significantly enhance space exploration or operational capabilities, the United States shall develop and use these systems. The use of space nuclear power systems shall be consistent with U.S. national and homeland security, and foreign policy interests, and take into account the potential risks. In that regard:

10. Radio Frequency Spectrum And Orbit Management And Interference Protection

The use of space for national and homeland security, civil, scientific, and commercial purposes depends on the reliable access to and use of radio frequency spectrum and orbital assignments. To ensure the continued use of space for these purposes, the United States Government shall:

11. Orbital Debris

Orbital debris poses a risk to continued reliable use of space-based services and operations and to the safety of persons and property in space and on Earth. The United States shall seek to minimize the creation of orbital debris by government and non-government operations in space in order to preserve the space environment for future generations. Toward that end:

12. Effective Export Policies

As a guideline, space-related exports that are currently available or are planned to be available in the global marketplace shall be considered favorably.

Exports of sensitive or advanced technical data, systems, technologies, and components, shall be approved only rarely, on a case-by-case basis. These items include systems engineering and systems integration capabilities and techniques or enabling components or technologies with capabilities significantly better than thoses achievable by current or near-term foreign systems.

13. Space-Related Security Classification

The deisgn, development, acquisition, operations, and products of intelligence and defense-related space activities shall be classified as necessary to protect sensitive technologies, sources and methods, and operations, consisten with E.O. 12958, E.O. 12951, and applicable law and regulation as amended.

The following facts are unclassified: