Scott Pace, the prior executive secretary of the National Space Council, discusses why Artemis is of strategic value to U.S. national interests — and why the Moon is unique as a destination to drive global space exploration. Casey also discusses the latest congressional budgets news and what it means for NASA’s Mars Sample Return program. Note: the Space Policy Edition will go on hiatus for two months and return in November 2023.
Casey Dreier: Welcome to this month's space policy edition. I am Casey Dreier, the chief of Space Policy here at The Planetary Society. We have a great guest coming up this month. We have Dr. Scott Pace, who is the executive secretary of the National Space Council under the Trump Administration, and the current director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, a very, very deep thinker on space policy and influential member in the recent history of particularly NASA's focus on the Moon. And he's here to really talk to us about that, Artemis and the development of that and how it's really aligned with his original visions and arguments for the national interest perspective of why the moon is the place to go for human space flight rather than places like Mars. He'll be up here in just a few minutes, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I have two topics I want to talk about before we get to Dr. Pace. The first is, of course, NASA's budget, one of my perennial and annual interests as we go through this normal cycle here in the United States. And of course, something very near and dear to my heart, which is membership to The Planetary Society. Let me start with the second one first. If you're listening to this, you probably already know about The, Planetary Society. If you're a member, I just want to say first, thank you and to just forgive the next 30 seconds, but thank you for supporting us. If you're not a member, please consider joining us. It starts at four bucks a month. It's very affordable. And what it allows us to do is to continue to be that independent voice for space science and for space exploration with the public, with members of Congress, with the media. Basically, this is a rare institution that we have here that we can be this independent representation for you, for those of us who love exploration, for those of us who love space science and the search for life, and of course little things like defending the earth from killer asteroids and planetary defense. So planetary.org/join is the place to go. Again, starts at four bucks a month. If you want to upgrade your membership or commit at a higher level, we have options for you too. But at the end of the day, and I can say this now as a member myself and a staff member now there for almost 11 years, is that we truly depend on individuals like you to support us. We don't take government money, and we don't have major contributions of corporations. We are primarily funded by individuals. So please consider joining The Planetary Society, and hope to see you as part of as a fellow member someday on our online member community. And of course, at really exciting member events like the Day of Action where you get to meet members of Congress and other members of the society in Washington DC coming up this year, September 17th and 18th in Washington DC. That's at Planetary.org/dayofaction. Okay, let's talk about the budget. So we have action now by the time I'm recording this, from both the Senate and the House in terms of NASA's budget for fiscal year 2024. Now, the overall, I'd say the news is not great, but frankly better than we anticipated a few months ago, and maybe even the last episode ago that you heard me and Jack talking about this. The request from the Biden administration was for 27.2 billion for NASA. Neither the house nor the Senate provided that. The House, it gave NASA exactly what it got last year and it's top line. That's 25.3 and change. The Senate, gave a little less, about 300 million less, about 25 billion exactly. Now, you add inflation into this, and you're looking at a significant buying power loss for NASA, about seven to 10%. The exact numbers kind of vary, and we'll see that in a few years. So that already just adds extraordinary stress onto NASA's budget. But within this flat budget, by not giving these increase at the top line, it actually creates a lot of challenges to various programs within NASA because these cuts are not basically applied equally. We have now seen, I think, the successful stress test, again, of the Artemis program, where of all the programs within NASA, Artemis was given an increase by both the House and the Senate. The House gave the full request from the president for an increase to Artemis, a couple hundred million dollars versus 2023, and the Senate gave something very close to, within 200 million of that. And what we're seeing here is a pretty extraordinary level of commitment to this return to the moon for major programs, of course, like the SLS and Orion systems, which get, again, exactly their requested amount by both House and Senate, but also I think more importantly, increases continuing to gateway human landing system, all the kind of related issues and programs to get humans to return to the moon, this Artemis campaign development now getting roughly three-ish billion dollars annually. That's a big improvement from the previous year. And again, both House and Senate provide that increase. To pay for that, there are cuts to other aspects of NASA programs, so you've increased Artemis within this flat budget cap. That means that other programs have to go down. We've seen minor decreases in low earth orbit and space operations, space technology, but the biggest chunk comes out of NASA science. Both the Senate and House versions of NASA's bill cut about half a billion dollars relative to 2023 to the science program. At the time that I'm recording this, and I'll make a note about this later, at the time I'm recording this in mid-July, we have not seen the house's numbers of exactly where these cuts come from in science, but we have seen the sentence numbers. And the Senate, as you may have already heard, very much goes after Mars sample return, the big chunky mission that the NASA's Planetary program is attempting to do to return these samples being collected by the perseverance rover right now, and bring them back to Earth. This program has... It's undergoing some trouble. It's being subject to a unprecedented second independent review situation right now, and there was a leaked cost estimate showing the cost of the program upwards of eight to $9 billion from an original estimate of 5.3. That's a pretty large, to say, large increase. Again, early estimates we nothing committed officially. But after what we went through with the James Web Space Telescope and the budget troubles there, the Senate in particular used this opportunity where Planetary science actually has always been a weaker level of support than in the house to basically threaten cancellation to this program. In the Senate's budget, they propose cutting half a billion dollars to more sample return. And with this basically declaration to NASA, you shall keep this mission to the original 5.3 billion estimate or else consider yourself canceled, in so many words. If that happens, the remaining bits and pieces of Mars sample-return funding get carved up and provided primarily to Artemis. It doesn't even go to other science missions. And at the end of the day, this would be a huge obvious detriment to the decadal survey process, which recommended Mars sample return as the most important mission this decade. Obviously to the Mars community, to those poor little samples that perseverance has collected, that are sitting literally on the surface of Mars right now waiting for a ride home, and throws off the culmination of 30 years of progressive exploration by robotic Mars Missions, starting in the 1990s, being refashioned with Follow the Water in the early 2000s, going through with Curiosity in the 2010s, and now culminating with the sample-return campaign begun by Perseverance on the surface of Mars now. This would throw a huge wrench into the plans of our international partners here in the US, which would be the European Space Agency, which has committed upwards of a billion euros on a sample return orbiter, a major, major contribution for them. The Senate does not discuss the implications of leaving our European partners in the lurch. And it doesn't also say what to do with the whole Mars program at this point. Those samples would remain there. So this is a bad situation to be in. And the ideal situation, I think here, is that the IRB, this Independent Review Board, their report will come out around September. We will see hopefully a clearer path forward, and they'll maybe identify cost savings and efficiencies. And at the end of the day, one of the problems is that it's not clear what the problem has been within this project to drive up costs so fast. And this is a dangerous position for the project to be in. But good news, again, we don't know what the house language says at the time that I'm recording this. Historically, the house has always been far more supportive of planetary science than the Senate. I hope that that continues. And so there's a good possibility, I think, that the House will support, to some degree, maybe not all of it, but to some degree more sample return much better than the Senate. And at the end of the day, the Senate and House versions of NASA's bill have to be reconciled. They have to be made the same. And that will be a test between the supporters of Mars sample return, if there are, to the extent that they exist. This is a hypothetical now I'm gaming out. Are the supporters more motivated than those wishing to cancel the program? Historically, the supporters of programs tend to be so historically. Obviously, it doesn't guarantee anything, but they tend to have the motivation to save it. I think a lot, again, will depend on the results of this IRB and their report and their recommendations, whether that makes everyone feel more confident. Clearly, Congress is okay with paying cost overruns. They've done it many times before. They've done it with James Webb. They obviously do it all the time with the SLS, with Orion, with a mobile launcher that they're building for the upgraded SLS. It's not necessarily, I think the problem of cost growth. My interpretation is that it's the feeling of chaos around the mission design, that it's changing so fast, the costs are growing so fast that Congress senses, or at least the Senate may sense that NASA does not actually have a handle on this project. And no one wants to throw money into a chaos situation. It'd be one thing if there was a clear plan, and I think that's what the IRP is going to give us, I think. I have not seen the report at the time I'm recording this. So that's my hope. Maybe we'll put it as that. The Planetary Society, of course, supports Mars sample return as we support the scientific community there. decadal survey process that they went through was very clear about the priority of Mars sample-return. It was listed as the top priority for this coming decade. And they called it a fundamental strategic importance to NASA and to the US Planetary Program. And that's pretty strong language. And so this is something that I really want to see succeed, just personally and professionally, of course, and I think that can succeed if it's approached correctly. And maybe the best case scenario here is that the Senate helps motivate people within the project to be able to seek out and actually implement cost saving efficiencies to apply new management techniques and to really whip everyone back into shape here, what we saw with the James Webb Space Telescope when it survived, its near cancellation in 2011, it actually ended up being stronger on the other side for it. And there's a good chance Mar sample-return, if it survives this crisis, could come out stronger on the other side. So we'll see. I will say check planetary.org for updates on what the house has come in with that will be coming out some.... There's a lot, for those of you following, a lot of politics happening in the US Congress right now with a divided Congress between house underneath the Republican party or controlled by Republican party, Senate controlled by the Democratic Party. Not the easiest time in Congress to pass legislation. There's a good chance that no budget agreement will be reached between the House and Senate and NASA and many other federal agencies will be subject to what's called a continuing resolution next year. That's basically where Congress throws up its hands, says, "We can't agree, and we'll just extend last year's funding out into next year." If that happens, and it's happened before, happened in 2012, if that happens again, all those agencies will get their 23 funding amount, which for NASA will be about $25.3 billion minus 1%. And that was supposed to be the stick, in a sense. That was built in the Fiscal Responsibility Act that was passed earlier this year. The debt limit deal here in the us, that was supposed to be the stick to prevent this from happening, to motivate, because this also applies to defense. It applied to every single agency, would let no one grow. So that may not be enough of a stick to make this happen. But in mar sample returns limited perspective, a continuing resolution may actually be the best case scenario for the project. Under a CR, government agency cannot cancel a project. It will continue at the level it's funded through in 23, which in MSR's case, will be about $822 million, a good healthy amount. And in that case, NASA has some internal discretion about how to move money around. And theoretically, they could even, depending on their own internal priority for it, could throw a little more money to the project in 24 if they're in a CR. A lot of ifs here, right? So the big takeaway though is that Mars sample-return is in trouble of all things you want to have. You just do not want the Senate yelling at you like they have in this recent budget. You can read more about my analysis on planetary.org, and look for the article section. I have it written up there. And it's also something that will be evolving and probably won't even finalize until later in the year. And again, this is a great opportunity, for those of you who are able and interested to come with us to Washington DC in September, it will be a very good time to talk to members of Congress about NASA's budget. September 17th and 18th, our day of action. That's planetary.org/dayofaction. You can register as late as first week of September for that. Let's talk with Dr. Pace. As I said, Dr. Pace was the Executive Secretary of the National Space Council. He was the deputy assistant to the president. He's the director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. Very well known, very influential, very highly published and cited author and scholar on space policy and international affairs. We are here to talk about a different domain of space, the Moon. And Artemis continuing development. And how that has so far aligned with or maybe even deviated from his original arguments for the national security interests of pursuing big projects in space like this, and the motivations and outcomes of such commitments. So here is my interview with Dr. Scott Pace. Dr. Pace. Thanks for joining me today in the space policy edition.
Scott Pace: Good to see you, Casey.
Casey Dreier: Yes, in person.
Scott Pace: Glad to be here. Yeah, in person. This is new.
Casey Dreier: Yes, it's my pleasure to be here at George Washington University at the Elliot School. Last time we talked was about three years ago, and you had just released a paper from the White House at the time, where you were working, on the new era for deep space exploration and development. We talked a lot about national interest and pursuing shared values in space. And it's been a few years, and now we've really advanced in Artemis. We've advanced in both the signatories and the Artemis Accords. Obviously, Artemis one has happened and this big coalition has been returning to the moon. And I wanted to revisit this idea of using the moon, or leveraging it essentially to help drive a broad global space policy, at least in terms of US national interests, an issue you had talked about over a decade ago. And so just to start with, what do you believe at this point in 2023, that NASA, via Artemis, has provided to the US in terms of its national interests that was lacking, prior to having the moon as the central focus of human space flight exploration?
Scott Pace: I think the central change from say prior efforts for returning to the moon and going on to Mars, say the space exploration initiative or the vision for space exploration, what's new in space policy directive one, which then led to the Artemis program, is the inclusion of commercial and international partnerships. So going back to the moon and on to Mars, while space people, I think, focus on that as a technical challenge, as an inspirational challenge, they often failed to ask what national purpose is being served. And so we know Kennedy made the decision to go to the moon, not because he was a space enthusiast, but because he had a political problem he needed to solve, and the moon was a solution to that. And I think that the community for many years struggled with what question for which the answer is human space flight, and particularly Moon and Mars. And I think what's happened, and is different today, and I think SPD1 reflected that reality, is that the world today is a much more globalized one, a much more democratized one in terms of space. We have companies doing amazing things in space. We have countries, in some cases, taking advantage of commercial actions, other cases developing their own that are doing amazing things in space. So it's a very different geopolitical environment that we are in. For space exploration and development to be sustainable. I've often argued that it needs to be aligned with enduring national interests. We can talk about what those interests are. But the first step is to recognize what environment are you in. And I think prior efforts did not really take into account how different the global environment is today versus, say what it was a few decades ago, or certainly at the beginning of the space age. I think NASA has made progress in incorporating commercial and international partners. I think there's more to do, the architecture definition document, which has been talked about. NASA has certainly made progress in being articulate about what things they need to focus on and why, and what goals are being achieved, and there's some more traceability in that architecture, but I don't think it's really complete yet. I think work still remains to be done on how it serves broader non NASAs interests. How does this serve economic growth? How does this serve our diplomatic strategy? How does this serve and complement, say our security strategies? Artemis is very much a non-military program, but it has security implications in a broader geopolitical sense. And that's why diplomacy and economic, security, and other issues come to fore. And I think there's still work to be done in understanding that not only within the United States and with NASA and the other agencies, but also with our international partners. It's that kind of integration of national interests in a broader campaign of exploration development, which was the subject of the paper you mentioned at the beginning, a new era for space exploration and development. We are in a new era. And if it's going to be sustainable era, I think it needs to pay attention to broader national interest than just what the space community wants to do.
Casey Dreier: Something that struck me, while you were just saying that, how much of this is just a function of NASA in a sense, making the case explicitly to other stakeholders versus actively or functionally changing its approach? Because it almost sounds like they just need to explain more broadly what they're already doing, or that may be seen as the pathway forward.
Scott Pace: Partly, but I think it's also goes the other way. I think there needs to be more engagement by other representative interests, either in the interagency, or civil society or internationally, to explain to NASA what it is they want to get out of it. So it's not merely a matter of NASA having the answers and communicating it. It's a matter of NASA also sort of listening to other stakeholders that are outside. I think of the traditional NASA structure. So for example, when having international partners, yes, NASA properly should think about what can they contribute and why, and how does this fit with our needs? But you also have to look at what do those partners need and listen to them as to what their motivation is. Because if we're not aligned, or at least we're not understanding what those international partners need, then those partners aren't going to get the sustainable support from their home governments to be continuing partners. So it can't just be a one-way sort of thing. One of the reasons that I was so very critical of the Obama administration's journey to Mars was not Mars per se. Mars is great. I think it's a goal. It's important to have that as a stretch goal. It's important to think about feed forward from the moon toward Mars. It broadens thinking. But the problem was, Mars, the journey to Mars concept didn't really provide on-ramps for other countries. So in 2010, when we were in the midst of this discussion about the national authorization bill and all kinds of difficulties with the administration's attempt and success in ending the Constellation program, I had a head of a foreign space agency ask me if our government, the United government really supported international cooperation. Now, I was out of government at the time, but I'm thinking to myself, now, what kind of question is that? And I said, carefully, "Well, I believe they do." And the guy looks at me and very plainly says, "Well, we don't think so. We don't think you're sincere." And I go, "Really? Why would you say that?" And they said, "Well, because you picked a goal, Mars, that we can't do." I can't go to my finance ministry and ask for money to go to Mars with the Americans. So we think you really only want to go to Mars with, say the Russians who are capable of this. And you're not really sincere about involving other countries, smaller countries like my own." And I said, "Well, okay, I can see why you would say that, and I can see that perspective." I said, "I have something really bad to tell you. We didn't think about you at all. There is not an international geopolitical rasion d'etre for the journey to Mars decision. It was done for internal domestic policy reasons." Much in the same way, to be fair, that Richard Nixon made the decision for Shuttle. There was a minor role that Kissinger proposed for foreign astronauts flying on board, but it was done for internal domestic reasons. It wasn't done for larger geopolitical reasons. In contrast, going to the moon and Apollo was geopolitical. Apollo-Soyuz was political. Having a space station program was geopolitical. Having the Russians in the space station program to make it the International Space Station was geopolitical. Other efforts alluded to geopolitical realities, both the space exploration initiative and the vision for space exploration. But I don't think went sufficiently far enough, and the environment wasn't mature enough for international and commercial partners, which it was by the time we got to SPD1. So that's why I think Artemis has done better. I think it's and it's more sustainable and will survive longer. And also, no small measure to the work that Jim Bronstein did in making sure that it was bipartisan. We in the White House were definitely interested in being non-partisan, bipartisan. We wanted to write policies that would be sustainable. But Jim did a lot of the heavy lifting and working with Congress to make sure that it was bipartisan and sustainable. And so the transition we went through from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, notable for many things, but notable for also what did not happen, continuation of Artemis, continuation of the Space Force, continuation of the Artemis Accords and engagement, and in fact broadening and deepening of international engagement. The State Department recently announced its framework for space diplomacy, diplomacy for space, space for diplomacy, and so forth. On one hand, nothing really groundbreaking in new, per se, for I think space people, but a really major statement, I think by the State Department, by the Secretary of State that recognizes the integral role that space has in US diplomacy, and that it's something that state needs to be fully present for. This is not something that just NASA and DOD are responsible for, but it's part of our diplomatic engagement with the world. So progress continues.
Casey Dreier: Something that struck me in your description of the role of international geopolitical considerations, the major examples you give are very reactionary. For both Apollo and Apollo-Soyuz and ISS, you're reacting to these global events that are happening. And in 2010, you could argue it wasn't as much of a globally... There was still this idea of rebooting the relationship with Russia globally. It was a time of consolidation, it seemed like economically. Was there even a reason, given the past, to expect that there would be this integration of geopolitical role in the space program as opposed to a domestic one when there wasn't a global crisis to engage with?
Scott Pace: I don't know about reactionary. Space engagement, space cooperation is always a lagging indicator. There was a tendency, I think sometimes of space enthusiasts, commonly among space enthusiasts to think that space is so important and so wonderful that it can drive international relations. I recall, and this is showing my age, back in the 1980s, when I was with the L5 Society and then the National Space Society, having arguments with your predecessors in The Planetary Society, who we were proposing going to Mars in a cooperative effort with the Soviet Union as a way of building peace. And this was also considered to be a counterpoint to some of the nuclear freeze movements, nuclear winner and Mars. It was kind of wrapped up in that Cold War debate during the Reagan era. And I disagreed very strongly with The Planetary Society's positions on that because... I think I made one of my first sort of value, or one of the first sort of, for me, value arguments. And I think the snarky phrase I used was no gulags on Mars. And so that it's not merely our people and our technology that we send into space, but it's also our values. So recognizing that space is going to be a laggard to the rest of international relations. The Cold War environment, of course, led to the Apollo program. The Nixon Brezhnev Summit meeting in 1972 is what led to Apollo-Soyuz. The Clinton Administration's incorporation of Russia into the International Space Station was both a desire to symbolize a post-soviet relationship with Russia, but also had strong non-proliferation concerns. We didn't want Russian rocket scientists going to other countries that were more problematic, and therefore it was in our interests that the Russian space effort continue. The Russians were critical for maintaining the space station after the Columbia accident. So we owe him a debt of gratitude for that. However, Putin's decisions since that time have been more and more problematic, put more and more strain on the system. And so 2008 invasion of Georgia, 2014 invasion of Crimea, of course now the Ukrainian invasion, all of this has served to decouple Russia and space efforts from the rest of the world. So space is always going to be in the service. Human space flight, I should say, is always going to be in the service of larger geopolitical interests. Commercial activity, not so much. Scientific activity can pursue independently. But human space flight, until such a time as there is a self-sustaining commercial human engagement in space, which I hope is coming but is not here yet, we're still going to be influenced by geopolitical realities.
Casey Dreier: So what does the moon offer then that Mars can't? Is it purely just technology? Because in the journey to Mars, you theoretically at least had this asteroid stepping stone pathway, right? I can see your face. Conceptually, you could go to an asteroid more easier. Or with the asteroid redirect mission...
Scott Pace: Right.
Casey Dreier: ... you were going to the moon functionally anyway, and orbiting the moon.
Scott Pace: Sure.
Casey Dreier: Was it purely technological, or is there some symbolic aspect of the moon just feels more achievable to sell to local political systems or other nations?
Scott Pace: So several different answers to that. One is the phrase I often use as the moon has many different price points, much more so than Mars does, meaning you can have a very high-end activity such as Japan, building a pressurized rover for the service, essentially a mobile base, which would be amazing contribution, and critical. We have the service module that the Europeans are providing for Orion that, again, we would not be doing this without that contribution. And other countries... However, smaller countries are looking at taking rides on clips, commercial lunar rovers, putting small payloads on the moon, putting payloads in orbit around the moon. So countries of many different levels of capability can find ways to meaningfully participate. There is international participation on say, the Mars rovers and landers today, Perseverance, Curiosity, Opportunity all have international participation in it, but it tends to be fairly specialized, scientific participation. And not to diminish that at all, but it's not as politically visible as some other activities. So it's not just the psychology of the moon being closer. It's that technical reality has a programmatic reality, has an affordability level to it that allows for greater adjustments for people to match their national interests to what's available. Provides more on-ramps and ways for meaningful engagement.
Casey Dreier: Yeah. I would add to that, even frequency is an advantage that you can launch on a monthly basis versus a 26 month [inaudible 00:30:29].
Scott Pace: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Casey Dreier: And by having high frequency, you get a sense you can build up production lines.
Scott Pace: The space community, I think, in recent years has, and not recent years, say the last 20 years, has learned a couple of lessons which maybe business people knew for years but took a while to penetrate. One is, yes, frequency matters, high rate production really results in differences. People who did, again, showing my age, total quality management and statistical process control and things like that, understand that if you do everything in a bespoke handcrafted way, it's a different economy than if you're producing a production line. So moving to high rate production, if possible, is most recent big change. But the other relearn somewhat with the COVID experience is the importance of dissimilar redundancy. In the case of the Columbia accident, we learned yet again the importance of dissimilar redundancy. And so when we went to having commercial cargo, and then later commercial crew, many people saw the picking of at least two competitors as part of being commercial competition. Well, we're still in a monopoly monopsony buyer kind of situation. So while it's, I think, easy for people to hear, "Oh yes, picking more than one, that's good, then there'll be competition and prices will be moderated," sort of. It does happen. SpaceX's entry for example, I think has had a positive influence on lowering prices in general for the market. However, it's really too simple. What's also really going on is NASA rightly shouldn't trust anyone. It should have multiple ways of doing something. Satellite communications people knew this all along. They would do strategic sourcing. Maybe it might've been the cheapest thing to fly on all Russian boosters back in the day, but they had always would put some flights on an Orion, or they would even add maybe fly something on an Atlas or Delta, which was more expensive in comparison to, say Orion or the Russian offerings. But diversifying your supplier base and strategic sourcing was a thing. Well, same thing is true here in space. And I think the Columbia accident helped drill that in really deeply. We want multiple ways to get to space.
Casey Dreier: Well, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Scott Pace: Right. Right. Which people are not sort of expecting, but world events happen. And so having another way of doing something is always going to be valuable over and above the potential price benefits that might be there, bigger issues in terms of overall enterprise resiliency.
Casey Dreier: You talk about this multiple price point entry for collaboration in going to the moon. Something else you would even add to that would be something like the Artemis Accords, which is your free entry. It doesn't cost anything to sign on to the Artemis Accords financially. You can functionally raise your hand as a nation and just say, "I share these values" and start with there. Where does that role... Where do you see the Artemis Accords playing into this broad goal of national interest and shared values? It seems to be a critical addition to it.
Scott Pace: Yes, it is. And in part because the Artemis Accords are helpful for starting the conversation about what our common values are going to be. Signing in the Artemis Accord doesn't mean you're in the Artemis program, because that still takes decisions as to what you want to contribute. And US-based cooperation has always traditionally been a no exchange of funds kind of basis. I was on a panel the other day with Charlie Bolden reiterating the principles of transparency, reciprocity, and mutual benefit. Doesn't mean contributions have to be equal, but there has to be some mutual benefit going on. And I think that countries will have many different complex ways to answer the question of what's in their sort of mutual benefit. But having the conversation about values, I think is really important for the US, because... Pardon me wearing a bit of an academic hat here. There is the what's known in the business as a security dilemma. Now, a security dilemma commonly is one where say we feel insecure and we build weapons. And our adversaries see that and they feel insecure and they build weapons. The next thing you know, you have an arms race. And so how do we secure our interests without triggering the situation that makes us maybe worse off than we were to begin with? And that's a classic security dilemma. Space has that, but it also has a different kind of security dilemma in that we have this incredible dependency on space economically, militarily, diplomatically even, if you will. And so it's very, very important domain to us, like the air and sea and land are in other domains. But I think like great Britain before us as a sea power, we're a space power, and we're really reliant on space. So here's this domain that we're critically reliant on. So how do we protect ourselves? So wearing with the IR theorist, international relations theorists, we call the realist lens, traditionally in other domains, you would put a fence around it, you would put a flag on it, you would have nearby allies. There's a number of traditional steps you could take. Well, space is borderless. You don't have that option of putting a fence on it or a flag on it or anything like, simply from practical, as well as legal reasons. So how do we protect our interests in that environment? I would argue that one of the best ways to do that is to convince other sovereign states that their interests lie in aligning with us, sharing our values, forming a common community. And that in doing so, that they will protect their interests and we will protect ours by this sort of voluntary adherence. So when we talk about norms of behavior in space, responsible norms, people are often skeptical and say, "Well, our adversaries, say China or Russia, are not going to pay attention to those sorts of things." And they're largely right, probably not. We hope they will, but probably not. But they're not really just for them. They're for our allies. They're a way of expressing what we, collective we, think of as responsible behavior. And when we see someone else violating that, we're able to say, "Hey, we all agree that's a violation. Now, what are we going to do about that?" So for example, in another domain, when you have a say a Chinese fighter aircraft conducting an unsafe approach to a US aircraft operating in international airspace, everyone agrees, yes, that was an unsafe approach, yes, that was an international airspace. It doesn't mean that the Chinese fighter jet will stop doing that, but it does mean that we have a basis, a political basis, as well as a potential military basis for responding. So it's important to have conversations about, well, what values do we share? And again, in the case of China, they have a right to be in space, but I don't want them to be in space without me and my friends. And I want the values that we represent, values essentially of the enlightenment rule of law, democracy, human rights to be fully represented in whatever human future might occur in space. This is not to deny it to others, but it's to say this is who we are. And the Artemis Accords, I think, are a very important foundational step to having that dialogue about what are the values we share together? And in doing so, we're protecting our own national interests.
Casey Dreier: Can this be characterized as a liberalism in terms of international relations, small L liberalism?
Scott Pace: Small out liberalism. Right. We look at the realist problem of power and competition among states, but liberal internationalism, which is not something I'm, say associated with often. But in academia, we have lots of cases of liberal internationalism that works between states. It occurs in cases where military forces off the table. We have lots of issues to discuss, say with Canada and Europe and Mexico and so forth. But use of military force is not one of the options on the table. So we're going to have complex agendas, we're going to have complex debates, we're going to have competition, we're going to have cooperation, and so forth. But we're all part of a liberal international rules-based order. We would like there to be more of that. But we also recognize there are cases where that does not occur. And in fact, where military force, economic force are absolutely essential. So you try to expand the range of areas that are covered by rules-based international order, while still at the time, being prepared to operate in environments where that is broken down or is not the case.
Casey Dreier: So would you say that the Artemis Accords is a legging or leading aspect of this type of global order? Is it a function of its existence or does it drive further adherence to it.
Scott Pace: That's a great question. That really is really a good question, because my normal reaction would be to say it's a lagging indicator because space cooperation general lags behind other dialogues. But I think the case of Artemis, if you put it to me that way, is one which is leading the conversation a little bit. Now, on the other hand, the Artemis Accords are fairly conservative. They represent only existing international law. They don't really represent any large breakthrough. That's why countries find it fairly easy to sign up for, because it represents where they are now. But I think in the course of engagement in and on and around the moon, and as we develop experiences with each other, that there'll be further elaborations, of these norms of behavior, there'll be further creation of mechanisms for coordination with each other, not just among Artemis of Accord country, but I would hope all countries for coordination amongst each other, that will lead to new understanding about what safe and responsible space operations are. So I don't think that there are leading indicator now, but they're the opening to that conversation.
Casey Dreier: Yeah, they seem almost generative. The fact that it's just, as you said, reframing international law, but it still gives some nations an action to take, to just symbol... And again, that role of that the kind of hazy area of symbolic activity, that's hard to quantify. But still, there's something to it, beyond it. An well, why haven't we had this? What novel thing had to occur or what had to occur to enable something like the Artemis Accords to happen? Can they ever be separated from Artemis itself? Can you have Artemis Accords without Artemis?
Scott Pace: I think you can. I think what is different is the opportunity for countries to meaningfully engage in some way. Kind of a favorite example that I use sometimes in diplomacy is US Mexican relations. Difficult and complex over the years. There's a story in Walter McDougall's books, Heavens and the Earth, about John Glenn Flight, and it was coming up over the Pacific, coming toward the US. And there was a gap in communication coverage. And one of the easiest, quickest ways maybe to fix that gap would be to put a small station ground station in Mexico to see it as has coming up over the horizon. So NASA went ahead and did an MOU with Mexico and to do this, and the Mexican government agreed. This was the first diplomatic agreement with Mexico since the revolution. Things had been a bit tough. And so the opening, okay, was this. Fast forward to more recently today the Mexican Space Agency has bought satellites and has flown aboard shuttle and has had Mexican astronauts and so forth. But the Mexican Space Agency, in more recent years, bought a small payload package on an Astrobotic lander. And so there's going to be a tiny rover and they've got hundreds of students working on it. And so it's a major project. But this means Mexico is going to be the first Latin country to land on the moon, and they're doing so in a commercial partnership with the US. So it's both symbolic and it's substantive. It's a way for Mexico to meaningfully participate. And I think it's these opportunities for meaningful participation, which by the way, I felt were lagging in not present in the journey to Mars idea, which was still very much a government driven sort of thing, that makes really the difference in why the Artemis Accords are present today. And I think they would've a hard time existing without these opportunities for these multiple on-ramps.
Casey Dreier: Right. To actually then do something.
Scott Pace: To then actually then doing something and develop their own capacity. I think that the Artemis Accords discussions and that vision of meaningful participation is also in the background with commercial astronauts. So the recent Axiom mission coming back, I thought it was terrific that we had these two Saudi astronauts. Of course, UAE is also a little bit of competition there, has sort of already [inaudible 00:43:29]. But the symbolism of a Saudi female scientist in weightlessness as a way that they will be present as well on the future, I think, in some ways, you could look at that and say, okay, isn't that great? And that sort of universal aspirations. But also in those cultures, this is also an anti jihadist message. There is this hopeful future post hydrocarbon that has a more egalitarian society or more full participation society. And so there's multiple levels of symbolism there, not just for the space community, but also in the Middle East. So these are some of the positive kind of things that can happen for this meaningful participation.
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Casey Dreier: All of this makes me wonder how deterministic policy is to basically, I would say geography, or just I'm struck by the old JFK speech of, why go to the moon, why climb the highest mountain, and functionally because it's there. But this almost reframes the emphasis to say we go to the moon because it is there and that there's nothing else that close. It gives some kind of organizing destination because of its accessibility.
Scott Pace: And who was it who said, "If God wanted man to be a spacefaring species, he would given us a moon"?
Casey Dreier: Right. Exactly. And it just strikes me, how much are we then trapped, in a sense, by policy determinism? Is that a troubling idea, or is it just maybe...
Scott Pace: No.
Casey Dreier: ... a pragmatist kind of just it's there so let's use it, versus we can't dream beyond that and we can't organize ourselves beyond it because we need to have these pragmatic, quick feedback mechanisms and feedback loops and access in these on ramps that generate these abilities to have this type of buy-in at a political level.
Scott Pace: When astronauts fly into space, whether they're commercial or government, they do not create everything around them. They are the products of large institutions. And in military terms, those institutions have to be organized, trained, and equipped to be able to fly into space, whether it be government or private. And I think that doing space exploration and development and utilization requires a training program. And this is the training. Now, how far we go and what we can do is not determined at all. I think you're familiar with my... And apologies to listeners if they've heard this too many times, the sort of quadrant model of a future of human space. Okay? So the question is, is there a human future in space? The answer is yes or no. Either is profound. It depends on two sub-questions. Is it possible to live off the land, or do you always have to be supplied from earth? Is it possible to do something that pays your way, or are you always dependent upon taxpayers on earth? If you can live off the land and generate, pay your own way, then you get space settlements. You get kind of that human expansion future of science fiction vision. If the answer both questions is no, then space is some form of Mount Everest that you visit, place of high adventure symbolism, but nobody really lives there. If you can live off the land, use local resources, but you're always still dependent upon the taxpayer, then space is some version of Antarctica. McMurdo Station is the image. If you can do something out there that pays for you, but you always have to come back to earth for whatever reason, biophysical reasons, physiological, psychological, whatever reasons, you always have to come home, then space is something like a North Sea oil platform. Those are four very, very radically different kinds of visions. And we actually don't know. Some people think they know, but I would argue that's mostly a faith-based assumption. So exploring out there in order to do so in a way that's sustainable, yes, it would be possible to imagine, say going directly to Mars. In fact, actually I testified about an opportunity like that. There is a Mars lineup of planetary systems where one could do an Apollo eight like mission out to Mars and back. And I was intrigued by that, one, because it would certainly be an engineering feat. But two, it would help bring Mars closer. It would make seem less far away if you could just do... Even as a one-off, pardon me, stunt, would still be an image of going, this is possible. This is not over the horizon. We lost that opportunity. We didn't move fast enough so the planet's moved on. But I think the way to have a sustainable space program not only is to align it with enduring national interest, but make sure it's sustainable by those interests. So being able to do things in a one-off wartime level of effort worked for a particular situation in the case of Apollo, but it was somewhat of a bubble at a particular time and place. And so I'm much more interested in sort of what's sustainable and exploring as to what's possible. So the reason for going to the moon is not only it's practical, but it's also a way of organized training and equipping ourselves to create a more capable space, fairing civilization that then becomes more capable of going to Mars, but in a way that would be more sustainable. And I don't think we know what that answer is. We're still exploring. That's what exploration is about, is which of these human futures is possible. So it's incredibly important to have international and commercial partners because we cannot answer the question of a human future without kind of all of human society in it, not just, "Hey look, I've got a couple of guys on the Martian surface."
Casey Dreier: Well, there's a fundamental technological limitation to this too that you we're functionally dancing around here, which is that those futures that you talk about are functions of technology.
Scott Pace: Absolutely.
Casey Dreier: And we've been unable to demonstrate one way or the other. It hasn't really been easy to get through. And that's another form of determinism too, that we just have to... We're limited by the fundamental hostility of the space environment.
Scott Pace: And the question that's unknown is how much of these limitations are physics, and how much of them are engineering?
Casey Dreier: Yeah. Right. Exactly.
Scott Pace: And one of the ones... And this goes down to maybe a different rabbit hole, but one of the ones that I would be probably more concerned about... I think as an physics major, I think I can see a lot of physics answers to almost anything, but I think issues of human biology and physiology, it is not clear to me at all.
Casey Dreier: And psychology, I would add.
Scott Pace: Yeah, and psychology. It's not clear to me at all that a sustainable human communities beyond the earth are going to be possible biologically. I'm not saying can't. I'm just saying that's an unknown. And so I can think of lots of ways to solve communication problem, propulsion problems, engineering problems, can even make speculation about different economic sort of solutions. But human biology is a thing, and I think that should be an integral part of our exploration activities, and again, in determining whether there's a human future in space. And that's I think one of the risk factors, is we may find that we are not able to separate completely from the earth for indefinite periods of time.
Casey Dreier: This is a subject I'm actually been really fascinated about recently, which is, you put it nicely, the difference between physics and engineering. Also an ex physics major here, so it's been... There are fundamental realities, and we even touched on this earlier, fundamental realities of being in space. That impact, what types of policies you can have. You said you can have... You can't claim space. You own the things in it. You can't defend your borders in space because orbits don't let you do that. That's a fundamental requirement of orbit. You have to fly over other countries functionally. And how do you see... I feel like there are pitfalls in terms of so much of what policy development, and even law, are functions of historical analogy and historical examples, or even present examples that assume things that you just cannot take for granted in space, again, that you're not constantly in motion, that you have ready access to air whenever you want it. That gravity holds you in one place. How do you approach the use of these type of analogies, and how do you avoid the pitfalls that may be lurking in them before we even try them? In a sense, how do we avoid setting policies that are fundamentally impossible to achieve based on the fact that people who set them may not have a rigorous background in physics?
Scott Pace: Right. Sure. So there's a standing joke that you want to have a science advisor in the room with senior political leaders, not because senior political leaders need science advice, but you want the advisor to flag situations where they do need advice. And knowing when to ask those questions, I can think of two answers to that. One is, again, this is what exploration is about. When the first EVAs were done, other than just first trying to do real work, as opposed to just getting out of the capsule and getting back in, those were harrowing experiences because people didn't really understand in their bones things like, you need foot restraints, you need hand restraints, you need tools that didn't torque. It was really hard to learn all those lessons that we now take for granted with seven, eight hour EVAs, that hard won knowledge that people in retrospect go, "Well, I should have thought of that." But of course, they didn't until they're actually there. A more abstract argument, and again, pardon for the strange analogy, this is why I think common law does better than civil law in dealing with technical innovation. Again, to oversimplify civil law, which many of our European counterparts adhere to, is a very top down structured kind of thing. Common law, particularly English common law is more of a bottom up structure. And you create precedent, and you set precedent, and you evolve with precedent. As you reach the limit, so to speak, they kind of converge into the same place. And I don't think civil and common law come out to horribly different results in the end. But the common law process and use of precedent and bottom up approach, I think it's much more flexible. It deals with innovation better, it deals with uncertainty better. And so I think that there's an argument, if we want to have an innovative space frontier and we want to have more commercial and private partnerships, that I'm hoping the US retains and preserves the lead with other common law countries because I think we'll be able to adapt these sort of governance and policy issues, more effectively and rapidly with time.
Casey Dreier: So you mean abstract in approach rather than...
Scott Pace: In approach.
Casey Dreier: ... rather than...
Scott Pace: Rather than the end result.
Casey Dreier: This common law being applied through pragmatism on earth. That's kind of the point. Doesn't necessarily...
Scott Pace: Right, that's exactly the point
Casey Dreier: ... apply. I was also thinking about... Long ago, when people were talking about the high ground of the moon, and there's still, I feel like, some talk about that today in national security, and that's just an intuitive idea that's an applied completely incorrectly of that misunderstanding or disregard of just the physics of orbits and getting to and from the moon. And that's where I then I see these pitfalls of application. And do you see that still kind of, the fact that those still exist?
Scott Pace: Yeah. Understanding what it means to say that space is a warfighting in domain, there's a lot of layers to that. And it doesn't look at all like say a science fiction movie. I think I maybe have a near term simpler answer to that. The really near term issues that I think military space has to pay attention to are all on earth. They're all... Either they're in the Western Pacific and they're in Europe. I have academic friend and colleague, Bleddyn Bowen, at the University of Leicester. And he wrote a book called War in Space. He has actually a more recent book, which a little bit more of a wider general audience called Original Sin. We have debates about theology. But one of the key observations I think that Bleddyn makes is that all of our vital natural interests are all on the earth. They're not in space. We don't have martian colonies to defend. We don't have lunar mining operations to defend. Those things might occur, but they're not here now. Everything we really have is here on earth. And the primary duty of a space force and space command is to make sure that dial tone that we expect when we pick up the phone from space is always there. It's is utterly crucial to INDOPACOM UCOM, all the other combatant commands that dial tone be there. And that's pretty much geo and inward. It's not geo and outward. So that may change over time if US interests change. But right now, our interests are here on earth. And so Bleddyn and his academic writings doesn't go the Blue Water Navy Mahan theories. He's more French naval theorist, which is more of a continental school where earth is a hostile coastline and you are trying to get in and out of it or influence events on the coast. So it's more of maybe a Napoleonic sort of history. But I think it rightly centers the earth as you know, what we're concerned about and not other places. Other places are supporting elements or not central vital elements themselves. So if you read space force doctrine as it is now, it actually has a lot more to do in common, I think, with sort of Bowen's thoughts and the French continental theorist thoughts about use of naval power. There may come a time when there is vital national interests elsewhere in the Solar System where a sort of Mahanian or British naval Corbett maybe theorists make more sense, where you're going between strategic places. But right now, the strategic place is the earth.
Casey Dreier: Do you think the framing, and in a sense, the implications of just the term space force works against it in this situation in a broad audience. Even I'd say with some elected officials and others who are in the role of policymaking but haven't done, in a sense, the clear research on the theory. I guess I was thinking about recently this issue with... We have space force now. In a sense, we have a named hard power activity in the space domain beyond NASA as our soft power activity. And I'm wondering if the rise of the hard power activity is undermining the soft power. And we're seeing this through the debt lament deal that were, what was preserved in spending increases was defense, because it has that literal application of power, I guess the realist attitude. And non-defense discretionary, including NASA, was functionally cut or held still, which makes it a lot harder to achieve some of these soft power goals. And I was wondering if some of the thinking between those is like, oh, well, what do we need to do Artemis for soft power if we're rarely ramping up Space Force? Instead, we have that commitment to it.
Scott Pace: I think General Mattis was one time testifying in support of increasing the state department's budget, because he said, "If you don't increase their budget, you're going to have to buy more bullets for me."
Casey Dreier: Well, they say that but it never actually seems to translate politically.
Scott Pace: Right. Well, they don't necessarily transition. But I think both are necessary. I think space more clearly brings into account both hard and soft power together. I am obviously incredibly grateful for the creation of the support for Space Force, because I think it'd been coming for 30 years, and I think it was long overdue. If the threat environment hadn't changed as it did in the 2000s, you could maybe argue we would have sort of stumbled along without dealing with it since, but I was involved in too many efforts at integrating air and space to think that that was really ever going to really work. So I think having a separate domain and having a separate service was critically necessary. And the timing was driven, I think largely by the way the threat environment had changed. I think that when you look though at as Artemis as a non-military activity, which it is, it not, however, how should we say, a non-security activity. The diplomatic aspect of it, the rulemaking aspect of it, the engagement, the things feed on each other. So just as commercial space is foundational for anything we do in space, such as whether it's defense or civil activities, our diplomatic relations shaped by both our civil and space activities are part of that. Now, we can have a discussion about who does what. I want the space force and particularly space command focused on geo inward and making sure they're supporting combatant commanders. I don't really have a high immediate need for them out at the moon. And I think Secretary Kendall and General Saltzman kind of agree with that. There's a priority setting that goes on here. And in fact, I would argue to the extent that more military activity, for its own sake was involving the moon, is actually not that helpful. I think that the lunar operations and Artemis need to be commercial, civil, international, the capabilities that would be demonstrated and developed out there. Propulsion, navigation, communication abilities, refueling, depots, all of those things have dual use applications. Okay? Everybody, I think sort of understands that. But you, again, want to be clear where are your interests? The larger vital interests, actually not maybe larger, I would say maybe your near term vital interests are all here on the planet. Your larger interests of shaping the international environment and the international community to do peaceful space exploration is out there at the moon. I surprise some people. I think that there are opportunities for cooperation with China, not in human space exploration, which I believe is a bridge too far in terms of political support, but there are tons of practical things we were able to do with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. So things like exchange of biomedical data, things like exchanging lunar samples, more transparency on their scientific databases, which is not what we would like it to be. We shares SSA data for operators in and around Mars at present. We don't really have an agreement like that for in and around the moon. Probably should. So there are other areas on earth where it seems to be pretty much a zero sum game. The level of areas of tension with China are pretty well known. Taiwan, South China Sea, Tibet, Uyghurs, cybersecurity, list goes on. While the threat environment from China has increased, space, per se, and operations in around Mars and the moon are not necessarily in the same category as those other problems. So I think there's a window there for pragmatic cooperation. I think we in China have views that are actually are fairly pragmatically aligned in terms of things like using the space resources. So in contrast to the rest of the relationship, this may be an area, while still differing profoundly, we could imagine pragmatic cooperation on the term, as Charlie Bolden said, transparent, reciprocal and mutually beneficial. So I have some mild hope there, but I also believe our military forces need to be really focused on our combatant commanders here on the ground.
Casey Dreier: I think that's true. And I don't have an objection in at all to Space Force. I think it was actually quite important for all the reasons you just outlined, but I'm just worried, again. A simplistic political viewpoint may just be that we have our space covered. We can divest in the civil space program. That's not as big of a deal anymore. And I feel like...
Scott Pace: I haven't run... Maybe you you've run into that.
Casey Dreier: But I guess you yourself..,
Scott Pace: I haven't run into that.
Casey Dreier: But budget is policy at the end of the day, right? And Space Force has already eclipsed NASA, and the money's being preserved for... There's a clear bipartisan consensus on spending for defense where there is a non discretionary... And it never... Is it a function of NASA selling itself for that role more effectively? But it just seems like it's being undervalued. That probably is independent of whether Space Force exists, but it seems like it could when probably someone could say, "Oh, we got that covered. We got it."
Scott Pace: You have a very fair point, okay, in terms of budget is policy. Okay. It's really a truism. The problem is that a misnomer, a misimpression that many people have is they think federal budget money is fungible. Oh, if only we didn't spend it for this bad thing. We could spend it for this good thing. Translate it as, I don't like that. I do like this. That's just not the way it works. Everything pretty much rides on its own bottom in terms of what's working. And obviously, there's overall constraints and things that people have to sort of work with. But this is where I go back to the issue of sustainability. You have to show that you're aligned with larger term national interests. And if you're not really supporting that, if you are seen as maybe a discretionary artisanal product that's nice to have, it's like doing art, then you're not going to do as well. So again, while I don't want to overstress it because I don't think it should be, this is why State Department recognizing the role of diplomacy, not only across traditional space offices and arms control verification and of course nonproliferation people and its role in the world, radio communications conference, emerging technologies, regional desks, the space stuff touches an amazing array of US sort of interests. I think that the extent we want to make sure we don't lose sight of these soft power aspects of space. I would say more generally sitting here in international affairs school, we don't want lose sight of the diplomatic role that we would actually would want state to play. You can't do without DOD, but you really can't do without State Department diplomatic either. And in doing diplomacy, diplomacy is in service or should be in service of these larger US interests, not only our economic and security interests, but also our promoting our values. And I think Artemis Accords are part of that. I think these other diplomatic engagements are part of that. And we have democratic debates about which to fund. That doesn't give us the option of saying, I'm going to take money away from some military capability and give it to a worthy diplomatic post. So I think that the task for NASA is to be able to argue how it does contribute to a larger national interest. And to the extent that things like architecture, definition documents focus primarily on internal NASA needs as opposed to larger national needs, then there's a missed opportunity. You mentioned... Again, bad analogy time, but you mentioned earlier about the asteroid redirect mission. So I knew the people working on that and perfectly wonderful people. And the asteroid redirect mission had a lot of things, had some positive aspects to it in terms of technical development, and in terms of tying together the science and human sides of NASA. It was a very common approach that both the science part of NASA and the human part of NASA could see themselves in. And so as a bureaucratic mechanism for coordination and team building, if you will, had some positive things with it. It just didn't fit into any larger plan. There wasn't a larger scope as to how did this advance overall US security, economic or diplomatic interests. And therefore, it became something that was important maybe to NASA, but it wasn't really important to anybody else.
Casey Dreier: And it died very quickly after the administration left. I want to just close this out by asking where you see things going now. Do you believe, in terms of in the broad philosophical outlines we've talked about for how you approach this and NASA's values, and also I guess I'll say, we'll find out in the next few months about how Artemis does in terms of the actual appropriations process in a more restrained environment, if it will rise to the top and be protected given the values it serves? But are we on the right direction, do you believe, in terms of our lunar program and for what it's attempting to do and... Where do you see that going in the next decade or so?
Scott Pace: On that, I am optimistic because I do lectures every year and I try to lead the students through the history and up to the present day and so forth. One of the sets of charts I have describing the situation as it looked in 2016, and it's a really depressing chart.
Casey Dreier: I was there. That was...
Scott Pace: You were there.
Casey Dreier: ... not the happiest of times. Yeah.
Scott Pace: Okay. But it was not merely human space flight. We had a number of fights over GPS spectrum. We had fights over weather satellite systems weren't coming online. Countries that really had drifted away from us, not only on human space flight and journey to March stuff, but the Europeans had come to us wanting partnership on Mars sample-return, which was their highest priority item, and ExoMars. And we had to tell them, "Go talk to the Russians," because we couldn't come up. So the geopolitical harm that was caused by our, I think somewhat inward gazing nature was not only affecting human space flight, it affected science and affected economy. It was going into security issues. We couldn't talk about space's warfighting domain, despite what was happening. And so it's a long litany of, boy, things are bad. Fast forward to where we are today, we have a space force, we have Artemis, we still have lots of management programmatic problems. But I think in terms of a conceptual breakthrough that people have made, and they've seen this larger... And the growth of commercial industry has helped tremendously because it's made real stuff that we saw emerging, but it's undeniable now. The international engagement, which we saw as potential is now kind of undeniable. So I think we got the basic foundations right. And there's not really a lot of policy to debate. There's lots of management implementation issues to debate. We can talk about where's the SSA contracts in the commerce department, and I can wonder where the procurement office is and other things that my friend Rich DeBell is struggling with. But that's not a matter of what's the concept. It's, hey, we need to execute and implement. I think the National Speech Transportation policy, last updated in 2013 and reflected in the 2020 policy, could use an updating simply to reflect the reality of more and more commercial vehicles flying out of government ranges. Really, the rate of launch activities is very different. We need to deal with new activities like in-space propulsion and space tugs and such that we didn't really, I think, deal with clearly in 2013. So there are some updates to policy that I think needed. But in terms of a big conceptual reordering, I think there's really a new and pretty solid consensus. And so the focus is on how much are we going to spend it on and how effectively are we going to spend it on. I don't know if you would agree with this, but I would argue we may have reached the point that Mike Griffin tried to get to where Mike would say things like, we have debates about the Navy, we have debates about what the Navy should do and where it should go and how much it should cost and how many ships we should build, but we don't debate should we have a Navy? I think we're at the point where we have a space program, and we can debate about how much it costs and what the balance is and how many ships are there and what the cost overrun was. But I think we're past the point, I hope, of debating whether or not we need a space program.
Casey Dreier: I agree with that. That's a good point to end it on Dr. Scott Pace. Thanks for joining us this month.
Scott Pace: Thank you.
Casey Dreier: That was Dr. Scott Pace. Of course, you can find all of his writings on various scholarly journals and you search for him at GWU. He has a lot of linked articles there. I hope you found that as interesting as I did. I could have talked to him for hours. One last thing before we end the show this week. I just wanted to let you know this will be the last episode of the Space Policy Edition until November. I'll be taking a few months off for paternity leave, which I'm pretty excited to share and to do. At the time I'm recording this, we're just days away from the main event. And by the time you listen to this, I will have a new daughter and future space advocate here in the world with me. And those of you who've done this before know something about how strange and wonderful this experience is. And it's something that clearly hard to verbalize, but something I can't shake the thought of is the End of Cosmos, where Carl Sagan talks about this grand story we're all in of humanity, in effect being star stuff, contemplating the stars. While I will be spending the next few months away from The Planetary Society, functionally as star stuff, contemplating star stuff, where my daughter will be the collection of 10 billion, billion, billion atoms, and I'll be contemplating the evolution of matter, tracing its long path by which it arrived, not just at consciousness, but at her consciousness. Quite the trip. So until November, I bid you all ad astra.