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Book Review: America’s Space Futures – Defining Goals for Space Exploration

February 2nd, 2014

America’s Space Futures: Defining Goals for Space Exploration, Editor Eric Sterner; George C. Marshall Institute, Arlington, Va.; $12.99, shipping and handling $3.99; (soft cover); 2013.

The George C. Marshall Institute has published a thought-provoking new book, America’s Space Futures: Defining Goals for Space Exploration, edited by Institute Fellow Eric Sterner.

There are those that see NASA as a lost in space agency, lacking of vision, without direction and having a shortfall of finances to set the country on a proper trajectory of space leadership.

This book adds fodder to that precept. The Marshall Institute has convened an august group of authorities to look at today’s NASA and where the country should go in space. Basically, it’s a view of that “vision thing.”

Contributors to the book are:

•James Vedda, Senior Policy Analyst at the Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy & Strategy

•Scott Pace, Director of the Space Policy Institute and Professor of International Affairs, George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs

•William Adkins, President of Adkins Strategies LLC and former Staff Director of the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee

•Charles Miller, President of NexGen Space LLC and former NASA Senior Advisor for Commercial Space

•Eric Sterner, Fellow at the George C. Marshall Institute and faculty member at Missouri State University Graduate Department of Defense and Strategic Studies.

I think the reader will find their perspectives, in essay form, of value – but also may shake up the views of some.

The book is potpourri of prognostication about where NASA has come from and where it’s going – or where it needs to go. This volume deals with what makes for a 21st century space strategy; how best to advance U.S. geopolitical and international interests in space; the need to prime the pump on research and development to ensure space leadership; and a historical look at private-sector – government partnerships.

Sterner as editor adds as wrap up to the book: “As our space program moves forward, it’s critical that we not simply start with where we are and look to make things better, but that we have a clear eye on where we want to be.”

My view is that this book is a contribution to that debate, deliberation, and decision-making intended to recast and strengthen the U.S. space program, and enlighten those that are hungry for a revitalized U.S. space agenda.

For more information on this book, go to:

http://marshall.org/space-policy/americas-space-futures-defining-goals-for-space-exploration/

NOTE: On December 13, 2013, the Institute brought together contributors to the book for a special discussion. The video can be seen here:

http://www.viddler.com/v/9042699?secret=98922998

By Leonard David

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