30 August 2010. Issue 38 of the "ESPI Perspectives" series examines and compares the potential for international cooperation in human spaceflight between the cancelled U.S. Constellation programme and the new Obama Administration policy.
With the recently proposed cancellation of the U.S. Constellation programme, human spaceflight in the United States has reached a crossroads. While a variety of domestic considerations have permeated the debate on the future of spaceflight, little to no discussion has centred on U.S.-led international cooperation. The Constellation programme’s transportation capabilities would likely have allowed for international elements to augment Lunar surface excursions. Such mission profiles would be in stark contrast to the Obama Administration’s proposed technology demonstration programme, which would likely offer the strongest and most definitive opportunities for cooperation under Constellation’s proposed replacement programme. Unfortunately, a technology demonstration programme would do little to capitalise on the hard earned progress made in modular hardware cooperation from the International Space Station experience. As speculation continues on U.S. spaceflight's future, so too does uncertainty regarding what kind of leadership can be expected from the United States in globally coordinated spaceflight. Dan Hendrickson
Dan Hendrickson is a Master’s candidate at the George Washington University Space Policy Institute (SPI). Prior to his time at SPI, he served as a mission assurance civilian engineer for the U.S. Air Force on five Atlas V launch campaigns.
In summer 2010 he spent two months at ESPI as Visiting Researcher.