Deep space exploration

USSPACECOM Deputy Commander Discusses Deep Space Exploration > Space Operations Command (SpOC) > Article View


SPACE FORCE BASE PETERSON, Colorado — US Space Force Lt. Gen. John Shaw, Deputy Commander of US Space Command, participated in the Accelerating Sustainable Deep Space Exploration panel, along with Mr. Jim Free, Associate Administrator of the Systems Mission Directorate NASA Exploration Development Center during the ASCEND 2022 conference in Las Vegas, Oct. 29, 2022. 24, 2022.


The session was intended to “describe the challenges of deep space, review similar historical challenges and solutions from other domains, and attempt to highlight possible opportunities for the United States and its partners to accelerate the ‘deep space exploration in a safe and sustainable ecosystem’, according to ASCEND. website.


In launching his remarks, Shaw provided context to the panel by defining deep space, referencing the definition of a former astronaut.


“When we were talking about deep space, we were talking about geosynchronous orbit.” said Shaw. “Now when we think about it, I think the context of our panel is along the lines of what Pam Melroy laid out at the beginning and that’s probably when we’re ‘exploring the solar system’. I think that’s is kind of the context we’re talking about here.


Security challenges remain prevalent in deep space exploration, and the threats posed transcend all sectors of space: civil, commercial and military.


“I think there will always be national security needs,” Shaw said. “It automatically means there is a security issue that business enterprises face that we need to think about going forward as we get into a potential crisis or conflict.”


Although the space domain has become more contested, Shaw noted that collaborative and cooperative efforts have been effective in addressing security issues in other domains in the past.


“I would like to point out that during the Cold War…you could still get on a commercial airliner and fly from New York to Moscow,” Shaw said. “There was still cooperation and standards about how we would do these things together as nations that allowed for relatively seamless travel.”


To promote a safer and more sustainable space domain, the United States Department of Defense is committed to acting responsibly in space with due consideration for other nations. However, Shaw noted, to be beneficial to all spacefaring nations, these guiding principles must be widely adopted. And, as the space domain becomes increasingly crowded and accessible, the need to implement broader governance increases.


“I’d like to see this idea of ​​cooperative ‘standards of behavior’ that support all sectors, commerce, civilian and national security, again, be something we can share across the world,” Shaw said. , explaining ongoing collaborative efforts.


Panel members answered questions from the audience, among those posed to Shaw was what he saw as the tipping point for making deep space exploration truly sustainable.


“We will always engage in some level of civil and scientific exploration, but the real driver of what we do in the future must be driven by economics,” he said. “It has been so in every other frontier that humans have explored. Part was for security, part for exploration and curiosity, but ultimately the real driver of any type of advancement on any frontier was economics. I think we really need the commercial sector to be the one to take us along for the ride.


And, while Shaw credited commercial sector innovations as a driving force for future space activities, he concluded by stressing the intrinsic connection of all sectors – civil, commercial, national security and scientific – and its importance when this is the next generation of space. professionals.


“I would say, as I talked about the conjunction of space sectors, we have to realize that there is a role and something to do in each of these sectors in the days to come,” Shaw said. “And finding the right inspiration and passionate motivation for the next generation, regardless of industry, is something we need to encourage.”