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The Institute’s space program examines the national security interests of the United States in space.  We explore how space supports military missions and needs, threats and obstacles to the pursuit of that mission, and critical examination of proposals designed to reduce costs.  As a corollary effort, the Institute supports a similar line of inquiry into the civil and commercial use of space.

Latest Space Policy Articles

Limit Military Command Of Spy Satellites: Butterworth

When Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work unveiled what we are now, unfortunately, calling the JICSPOC, there were many many questions and few answers. Among the most important questions was: if spy and military satellites are being flown and monitored from the same place and a satellite appears to be under attack, who will command — the Intelligence […]

The Martian message

Folks in the space advocacy community are already angling to capitalize on the October release of the Matt Damon film, The Martian. Based on Andy Weir’s astonishing novel, the story follows the struggle of astronaut Mark Watney to survive alone on Mars when an emergency forces his crewmates, thinking him dead, to abandon him on […]

The RD-180 Rocket Engine Issue Guide

Preface The Issue Guide Series is a series of reports researched and written by the George C. Marshall Institute. The series examines current issues facing the space community while providing background information on important problems and policy decisions. If you have any questions or suggestions on this or future Issue Guides please email Travis Cottom […]

China, Talk and Cooperation in Space

At the end of June, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, in the course of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, agreed to establish “regular bilateral government consultations on civil space cooperation.” Neither the purpose of these consultations nor the topics they will cover was immediately clear. The U.S. […]

What We Are Reading

Putting Astronauts on Mars: NASA Lays Out Three-Phase Plan

The path to Mars goes through the moon — or the region of space near the moon, anyway. NASA aims to put boots on Mars in the 2030s after first gathering human-spaceflight experience and expertise in low Earth orbit and the “proving ground” of cis-lunar space near the moon. NASA has been working on this three-stage path to the Red Planet for some time, and the space agency lays out the basic plan in a 36-page report called “Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration,” which was released Thursday (Oct. 8).

Mars’ Missing Atmosphere Likely Lost in Space

The mystery of Mars’ missing atmosphere is one big step closer to being solved. A previous hypothesis had suggested that a significant part of the carbon from Mars’ atmosphere, which is dominated by carbon dioxide, could have been trapped within rocks via chemical processes. However, new research suggests that there’s not enough carbon in deposits on the Red Planet’s surface to account for the huge amounts lost from the air over time.

NASA Set To Launch Swarm of Laser-Guided Cube Satellites

NASA is planning to launch a group of miniature spacecraft that are set to have a significant impact on ground-space communication and technology. This project is known as the Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) and includes three satellites to be sent into orbit in the next few months.

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