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The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy: Report on the Space Futures Workshop

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Technical Report

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USSPACECOM Colorado Springs United States

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This report provides a long-term perspective on possible space futures to inform strategic decision-making. Economic, political, technological, and military space trends indicate that we have passed the tipping point for space as a vastly increased domain of human endeavor and a key element of national power. Other countries recognize the advantages of U.S. space leadership, as well as the value space capabilities provide, and are moving aggressively to challenge the U.S. To ensure continued U.S. space leadership, a coordinated, short-, mid-, and long-term national strategy is required. Air Force Space Command AFSPC hosted a Space Futures Workshop SFW to explore the role of space to the year 2060. Participants from the DoD, NASA, NATO, industry, and academia used an alternative futures analysis technique to develop a range of future scenarios and to explore how they relate to national power. Eight future space scenarios were developed and explored along civil, commercial, and military conditions by defining positive and negative bounds. These bounds were developed based upon an analysis of technical, value, and national interest trends and assumptions as to the overall economic, political, and military state of the world in 2060.Key conclusions reached were The U.S. must recognize that in 2060, space will be a major engine of national political, economic, and military power for whichever nations best organize and operate to exploit that potential. The U.S. faces growing competition from allies, rivals, and adversaries for leadership in the exploration and exploitation of space. China is executing a long-term civil, commercial, and military strategy to explore and economically develop the cislunar domain with the explicit aim of displacing the U.S. as the leading space power. Other nations are developing similar national strategies. A failure to remain a leading space power will place U.S. national power at risk.

Subject Categories:

  • Astronautics
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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