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US unveils new space policy with special thrust on India


WASHINGTON (PTI): US President Barack Obama has unveiled a new national space policy, which is designed to strengthen its leadership in space while intensifying collaboration with countries like India, which White House officials said has a space friendly programme.

“This policy is about the boundless possibilities of the future,” Obama said in a statement as the White House unveiled the basic contours of America's New Space Policy.

“That is why we seek to spur a burgeoning commercial space industry, to rapidly increase our capabilities in space while bolstering America’s competitive edge in the global economy.”

He said the administration is proposing improved observation of the earth, to gain new insights into the environment and the planet.

Shortly thereafter in a conference call with reporters, White House officials said the US emphasises a lot on its co-operation with India, which has a “very space friendly” programme.

Noting that the US will engage in expanded international cooperation in space activities, a fact-sheet issued by the White House said: “The United States will pursue cooperative activities to the greatest extent practicable in areas including space science and exploration, earth observations, climate change research, and the sharing of environmental data; disaster mitigation and relief; and space surveillance for debris monitoring and awareness.”

A White House official said the US greatly values India's emergence as a global player in space and research and aims to deepen its cooperation with India in the field of space.

"We set ambitious goals for NASA: ramping up robotic and human space exploration, with our sights set on Mars and beyond, to improve the capacity of human beings to learn and work safely beyond the Earth for extended periods of time.

"And this policy recognises the importance of inspiring a new generation of young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. For, ultimately, our leadership as a nation - in this or any endeavour - will depend on them," Obama said.

The new policy says that all nations have the right to explore and use space for peaceful purposes, and for the benefit of all humanity, in accordance with international law.

Consistent with this principle, “peaceful purposes” allows for space to be used for national and homeland security activities, the new policy said.

As established in international law, there shall be no national claims of sovereignty over outer space or any celestial bodies, it said.

“The United States considers the space systems of all nations to have the rights of passage through, and conduct of operations in, space without interference.

“Purposeful interference with space systems, including supporting infrastructure, will be considered an infringement of a nation's rights,” it said.

“The US will employ a variety of measures to help assure the use of space for all responsible parties, and, consistent with the inherent right of self-defense, deter others from interference and attack, defend its space systems and contribute to the defense of allied space systems, and, if deterrence fails, defeat efforts to attack them,” the new policy says.

Besides expanded international cooperation, one of the important goals of the new policy is to strengthen stability in space through domestic and international measures to promote safe and responsible operations in space, improved information collection and sharing for space object collision avoidance, protection of critical space systems and supporting infrastructures, with special attention to the critical interdependence of space and information systems, and strengthening measures to mitigate orbital debris.

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NASA  space  

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