The United States is a pre-eminent leader in space exploration, development, and operations spanning a broad spectrum of applications from remote sensing to navigation to satellite communications. The benefits of U.S. leadership have had a positive impact on its citizens and provided economic and security benefits. As we move toward increased reliance on space-based services, the growing complexity and aspiration of global space missions are at an inflection point. Sustained leadership requires continual adoption of new capabilities.
The history of satellite servicing, refueling, assembly, and upgrade span from crewed servicing of telescopes, to in-space construction and maintenance of large structures, to autonomous robotic servicing missions. Recent commercial operations have extended the lifespan of satellites that are low on fuel. These novel and complex space activities are included within the In-space Servicing Assembly and Manufacturing (ISAM) set of capabilities, which support sustained economic activity and human presence in space. The United States will build on this foundation to accelerate a new, diverse, and market-focused ecosystem of autonomous persistent platforms and assets, to improve the way we use space for in-space and terrestrial operations.
This National Strategy outlines how the United States will support and stimulate the United States Government (USG), academic, and commercial ISAM capability development. It provides strategic goals to advance ISAM capability development discussed in the United States Space Priorities Framework. The next step following the strategy is to develop US implementation action plans to fulfill the goals.
Six strategic goals build on existing investments and emerging capabilities, and chart a course for using a national approach to realize the opportunities enabled by ISAM. The six goals are: (1) advancing ISM research and development; (2) prioritizing the expansion of scalable infrastructure; (3) accelerating the emerging ISAM commercial industry; (4) promoting international collaboration and cooperation to achieve ISAM goals; (5) prioritizing environmental sustainability as we move forward with ISAM capabilities; and (6) inspiring a diverse future workforce as a potential outcome of ISAM innovation. These six goals aim to guide the United States as it continues to develop ISAM capabilities.
The goals address three challenges that need to be overcome in order to realize the benefits of ISAM capabilities: (1) improving coordination and collaboration both within the US, as well as among the USG, academia, industry, and international partners; (2) sending a clear and consistent demand signal to private industry in order to stimulate investment, mitigate risk, and address investor confidence; and (3) establishing and adopting ISAM standards to help promote growth.
Source: In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing National Strategy, 2022