Presidential Decisions: NSC Documents from the Nixon Administration


At the beginning of his administration, Richard M. Nixon ordered a comprehensive review of national space policy and then implemented only half of the least ambitious recommendation, reversing momentum towards space spectaculars and greater space cooperation shown by the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations.  This is ironic since Nixon was President during all six of America’s Moon landings between July 1969 and December 1972.  Nixon approved development of the Space Shuttle in January 1972, but decided to abolish both the NASC and the Office of Science and Technology (Science Advisor’s Office) at the beginning of his second term.


NSDM 70 International Space Cooperation US-USSR Activities, 10 Jul 1970

Specifies “high-level diplomatic and technical agency channels” as the methods to coordinate space efforts with the Soviet Union. Declines to urge closer cooperation.

  • Directive


NSDM 72 Exchange of Technical Data between the United States and the International Space Community, 17 Jul 1970

Orders a report to outline procedures to exchange technical data with foreign space communities in a manner that protects national interests.  The report suggests that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration administer the requests and the Department of Defense to quickly review the proposals before release.

  • Directive
  • Memorandum for the President
  • Memorandum: First Report of the NSDM 72 Ad Hoc Interagency Group
  • Attachment A: NSDM Procedure for Documentation
  • Attachment B: Memorandum: Request for assistance to NSDM 72 Ad Hoc Interagency Group

NSDM 187 International Space Cooperation, 30 Aug 1972
Replaces policy statements in NSAM 354 and portions of NSAM 338.  The Reagan Administration reviews and dictates new policy on international space cooperation in NSDD 50.

  • Cover Letter
  • Directive

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