51 U.S. Code § 20302 - Vision for space exploration

§ 20302.
Vision for space exploration
(a)In General.—
The Administrator shall establish a program to develop a sustained human presence in cis-lunar space or on the Moon, including a robust precursor program, to promote exploration, science, commerce, and United States preeminence in space, and as a stepping-stone to future exploration of Mars and other destinations. The Administrator is further authorized to develop and conduct appropriate international collaborations in pursuit of these goals.
(b)Future Exploration of Mars.—
The Administrator shall manage human space flight programs, including the Space Launch System and Orion, to enable humans to explore Mars and other destinations by defining a series of sustainable steps and conducting mission planning, research, and technology development on a timetable that is technically and fiscally possible, consistent with section 70504.
(c)Definitions.—In this section:
(1)Orion.—
The term “Orion” means the multipurpose crew vehicle described under section 303 of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 18323).
(2)Space launch system.—
The term “Space Launch System” means has the meaning [1] given the term in section 3 of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 18302).
(Pub. L. 111–314, § 3, Dec. 18, 2010, 124 Stat. 3356; Pub. L. 115–10, title IV, § 413, Mar. 21, 2017, 131 Stat. 33.)


[1]  So in original.

Historical and Revision Notes

Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)

20302

42 U.S.C. 16611(b).

Pub. L. 109–155, title I, § 101(b), Dec. 30, 2005, 119 Stat. 2898.

Amendments

2017—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 115–10, § 413(1), inserted “in cis-lunar space or” after “sustained human presence”.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 115–10, § 413(2), amended subsec. (b) generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “The Administrator shall manage human space flight programs to strive to achieve the following milestones (in conformity with section 70502 of this title):

“(1) Returning Americans to the Moon no later than 2020.

“(2) Launching the Crew Exploration Vehicle as close to 2010 as possible.

“(3) Increasing knowledge of the impacts of long duration stays in space on the human body using the most appropriate facilities available, including the International Space Station.

“(4) Enabling humans to land on and return from Mars and other destinations on a timetable that is technically and fiscally possible.”

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 115–10, § 413(3), added subsec. (c).

Human Space Exploration

Pub. L. 115–10, title IV, §§ 431, 432, Mar. 21, 2017, 131 Stat. 38, provided that:

“SEC. 431.
FINDINGS ON HUMAN SPACE EXPLORATION.
“Congress makes the following findings:
“(1)
In accordance with section 204 of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 (124 Stat. 2813), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, through its Committee on Human Spaceflight, conducted a review of the goals, core capabilities, and direction of human space flight, and published the findings and recommendations in a 2014 report entitled, ‘Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration’.
“(2)
The Committee on Human Spaceflight included leaders from the aerospace, scientific, security, and policy communities.
“(3)
With input from the public, the Committee on Human Spaceflight concluded that many practical and aspirational rationales for human space flight together constitute a compelling case for continued national investment and pursuit of human space exploration toward the horizon goal of Mars.
“(4)
According to the Committee on Human Spaceflight, the rationales include economic benefits, national security, national prestige, inspiring students and other citizens, scientific discovery, human survival, and a sense of shared destiny.
“(5)
The Committee on Human Spaceflight affirmed that Mars is the appropriate long-term goal for the human space flight program.
“(6)
The Committee on Human Spaceflight recommended that NASA define a series of sustainable steps and conduct mission planning and technology development as needed to achieve the long-term goal of placing humans on the surface of Mars.
“(7)
Expanding human presence beyond low-Earth orbit and advancing toward human missions to Mars requires early planning and timely decisions to be made in the near-term on the necessary courses of action for commitments to achieve short-term and long-term goals and objectives.
“(8)
In addition to the 2014 report described in paragraph (1), there are several independently developed reports or concepts that describe potential Mars architectures or concepts and identify Mars as the long-term goal for human space exploration, including NASA’s ‘The Global Exploration Roadmap’ of 2013, ‘NASA’s Journey to Mars–Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration’ of 2015, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s ‘Minimal Architecture for Human Journeys to Mars’ of 2015, and Explore Mars’ ‘The Humans to Mars Report 2016’.
“SEC. 432.
HUMAN EXPLORATION ROADMAP.
“(a)Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that—
“(1)
expanding human presence beyond low-Earth orbit and advancing toward human missions to Mars in the 2030s requires early strategic planning and timely decisions to be made in the near-term on the necessary courses of action for commitments to achieve short-term and long-term goals and objectives;
“(2)
for strong and sustained United States leadership, a need exists to advance a human exploration roadmap, addressing exploration objectives in collaboration with international, academic, and industry partners;
“(3)
an approach that incrementally advances toward a long-term goal is one in which nearer-term developments and implementation would influence future development and implementation; and
“(4)
a human exploration roadmap should begin with low-Earth orbit, then address in greater detail progress beyond low-Earth orbit to cis-lunar space, and then address future missions aimed at human arrival and activities near and then on the surface of Mars.
“(b) Human Exploration Roadmap.—
“(1)In general.—
The Administrator shall develop a human exploration roadmap, including a critical decision plan, to expand human presence beyond low-Earth orbit to the surface of Mars and beyond, considering potential interim destinations such as cis-lunar space and the moons of Mars.
“(2)Scope.—The human exploration roadmap shall include—
“(A)
an integrated set of exploration, science, and other goals and objectives of a United States human space exploration program to achieve the long-term goal of human missions near or on the surface of Mars in the 2030s;
“(B)
opportunities for international, academic, and industry partnerships for exploration-related systems, services, research, and technology if those opportunities provide cost-savings, accelerate program schedules, or otherwise benefit the goals and objectives developed under subparagraph (A);
“(C) sets and sequences of precursor missions in cis-lunar space and other missions or activities necessary—
“(i)
to demonstrate the proficiency of the capabilities and technologies identified under subparagraph (D); and
“(ii)
to meet the goals and objectives developed under subparagraph (A), including anticipated timelines and missions for the Space Launch System and Orion;
“(D)
an identification of the specific capabilities and technologies, including the Space Launch System, Orion, a deep space habitat, and other capabilities, that facilitate the goals and objectives developed under subparagraph (A);
“(E)
a description of how cis-lunar elements, objectives, and activities advance the human exploration of Mars;
“(F)
an assessment of potential human health and other risks, including radiation exposure;
“(G)
mitigation plans, whenever possible, to address the risks identified in subparagraph (F);
“(H)
a description of those technologies already under development across the Federal Government or by other entities that facilitate the goals and objectives developed under subparagraph (A);
“(I)
a specific process for the evolution of the capabilities of the fully integrated Orion with the Space Launch System and a description of how these systems facilitate the goals and objectives developed under subparagraph (A) and demonstrate the capabilities and technologies described in subparagraph (D);
“(J)
a description of the capabilities and technologies that need to be demonstrated or research data that could be gained through the utilization of the ISS and the status of the development of such capabilities and technologies;
“(K)
a framework for international cooperation in the development of all capabilities and technologies identified under this section, including an assessment of the risks posed by relying on international partners for capabilities and technologies on the critical path of development;
“(L)
a process for partnering with nongovernmental entities using Space Act Agreements or other acquisition instruments for future human space exploration; and
“(M)
include [sic] information on the phasing of planned intermediate destinations, Mars mission risk areas and potential risk mitigation approaches, technology requirements and phasing of required technology development activities, the management strategy to be followed, related ISS activities, planned international collaborative activities, potential commercial contributions, and other activities relevant to the achievement of the goal established in this section.
“(3)Considerations.—In developing the human exploration roadmap, the Administrator shall consider—
“(A)
using key exploration capabilities, namely the Space Launch System and Orion;
“(B)
using existing commercially available technologies and capabilities or those technologies and capabilities being developed by industry for commercial purposes;
“(C)
establishing an organizational approach to ensure collaboration and coordination among NASA’s Mission Directorates under section 821 [set out as a note under section 20111 of this title], when appropriate, including to collect and return to Earth a sample from the Martian surface;
“(D)
building upon the initial uncrewed mission, EM–1, and first crewed mission, EM–2, of the Space Launch System and Orion to establish a sustainable cadence of missions extending human exploration missions into cis-lunar space, including anticipated timelines and milestones;
“(E)
developing the robotic and precursor missions and activities that will demonstrate, test, and develop key technologies and capabilities essential for achieving human missions to Mars, including long-duration human operations beyond low-Earth orbit, space suits, solar electric propulsion, deep space habitats, environmental control life support systems, Mars lander and ascent vehicle, entry, descent, landing, ascent, Mars surface systems, and in-situ resource utilization;
“(F)
demonstrating and testing 1 or more habitat modules in cis-lunar space to prepare for Mars missions;
“(G)
using public-private, firm fixed-price partnerships, where practicable;
“(H)
collaborating with international, academic, and industry partners, when appropriate;
“(I)
any risks to human health and sensitive onboard technologies, including radiation exposure;
“(J)
any risks identified through research outcomes under the NASA Human Research Program’s Behavioral Health Element; and
“(K)
the recommendations and ideas of several independently developed reports or concepts that describe potential Mars architectures or concepts and identify Mars as the long-term goal for human space exploration, including the reports described under section 431.
“(4)Critical decision plan on human space exploration.—As part of the human exploration roadmap, the Administrator shall include a critical decision plan—
“(A)
identifying and defining key decisions guiding human space exploration priorities and plans that need to be made before June 30, 2020, including decisions that may guide human space exploration capability development, precursor missions, long-term missions, and activities;
“(B)
defining decisions needed to maximize efficiencies and resources for reaching the near, intermediate, and long-term goals and objectives of human space exploration; and
“(C)
identifying and defining timelines and milestones for a sustainable cadence of missions beginning with EM–3 for the Space Launch System and Orion to extend human exploration from cis-lunar space to the surface of Mars.
“(5) Reports.—
“(A)Initial human exploration roadmap.—The Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress—
“(i)
an initial human exploration roadmap, including a critical decision plan, before December 1, 2017; and
“(ii)
an updated human exploration roadmap periodically as the Administrator considers necessary but not less than biennially.
“(B)Contents.—Each human exploration roadmap under this paragraph shall include a description of—
“(i)
the achievements and goals accomplished in the process of developing such capabilities and technologies during the 2-year period prior to the submission of the human exploration roadmap; and
“(ii)
the expected goals and achievements in the following 2-year period.
“(C)Submission with budget.—
Each human exploration roadmap under this section shall be included in the budget for that fiscal year transmitted to Congress under section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code.”

[For definitions of terms used in sections 431 and 432 of Pub. L. 115–10, set out above, see section 2 of Pub. L. 115–10, set out as a note under section 10101 of this title.]

 

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