The space age is one of the revolutionary eras in the world today, since the Soviet Union (USSR) launched the Sputnik in 4th
October 1957 the aeronautical space was transformed to numerous activities of research and explorations. The United States on the other hand responded to this innovation with the launch of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) the US also launched the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) this organizations revolutionized the science technology and mathematics (STEM) education policy.Before NASA was established in 1958 there was there was the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) which had no major achievements but with the establishment of NASA through the National Aeronautical and Space Act (NASA) major developments have been witnessed. Numerous explorations have been organized with new discoveries of the outer space being numerous. The space programs developed have been very informative and people have come to understand about the universe and its features such as the sun moon and planets and the different systems. An example is the 7th
Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO 7) that was discovered in 1971; which explains about the coronary mass ejection of the sun.NASA programs that run in history include the project mercury which was started in 1958 where projects like the freedom 7 and friendship 7 were observed even in 1962. Project Gemini was a brainchild of the Gemini 3 of 1965 where more missions were launched to explore the lunar. The Apollo program was also launched in the late 1960s where launched which were based on the exploration of the moon and the earth's orbits. Other programs included Skylab of 1973 till 1979 the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) of 1975 till 1981, the space shuttle program launched in the late 1970s till 1980s and the International Space Station (ISS) that was launched in the 1990s and is still running.The programs have ensured that information about the universe and outer space is adequately available with such programs. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) that was made operational in 1990 is an example where scientists can now be able to study the vast universe. The 1989 Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) has also contributed to the many discoveries of recent times. They have contributed to controversies with religion through the establishment of the big bang theory. NASA has the decadal survey which is a survey dealing with precise branches of science that relates to space and is carried out by the Space Studies Board of the National Academies. This survey outlines what has been achieved by the space policies the goals that are aimed at by NASA.
The NASA Authorization Act of 2008 became law in 15th
October 2008 which was as a result need for better space policies and aims to replace the old that were developed in the 1950s. The policy developed also aimed at an integrated state of affairs in the space race between all people in the globe. National Science Foundation has been very instrumental in ensuring the programs run smoothly with the establishment of sub committees in the National Academy. The current sub committees include the Astronomy & Astrophysics; Planetary and Lunar Exploration; Solar & Space Physics; and the Origins & Evolution of Life.There are also planned committees which include Earth Observation from Space and Life & Microgravity Sciences. The space policies have been objectively used for defense and the civilian space policy. The objectives set for current space exploration include the accomplishment of a continued exploration of the solar system through a human and robotic program, finding inhabitations in other parts of the solar system, development of technologies, awareness and infrastructure to explore the space, and international participation in matters of science, security and economy while exploring the space. The long term availability of programs such as the ISS has contributed to better international space policies.Space Policy Status on Launch Vehicles
The space policies definitely effected change in the launching of space vehicles. Firstly the launch of space ships was not much recognized but in the 1980s and 1990s the tides changed and there were numerous space activities. In 1980 there were 105 orbital launches by the US while the Soviet Union had 109. Commercial launches were very many during the period that there was need to regulate them. The space technology initiated a new world order where vessels would be launched to explore new worlds. The upgrade of the vessels was also key in that every time there was need to upgrade the space vessels so as to survive the discovered conditions; the upgrades included the Ariane 1, Ariane 2, Ariane 3, and Ariane 4.In January 28, 1986 a space shuttle by name the challenger belonging to the US got lost and thus brought to light the need to revise the space policies. The use expandable launch vehicle (ELVs) which was to be phased out earlier due to development of shuttle only vehicles was encouraged. Europe, Japan, China and other companies joined the US and Russia in the list of companies launching vehicles to space in view of their economic concerns and the need for ownership in space. The use of the GPRS fostered the launches where approximately 1100 commercial companies located in 53 countries started the race to own a piece of history through the launch of vehicles.Currently the need for a sustained exploitation of the space resources has necessitated the development of new type of launch vehicles; technology has implemented the launch of reusable launch vehicles (RLV) to space. RLV have been very vital in the concepts that they are cost effective and easy to launch. They give states the better usage and operation in space. They have been grouped in to single-stage to orbit, two-stage to orbit, and Trans-atmospheric vehicles that are cost effective in their missions to space.The goal of greatly reducing costs of vehicle launches which consume huge sums of money has always been developed by all stakeholders; this include the discovery of re-useable vehicles that would also contribute to lower pollution levels to the globe. The vehicles have been mostly launched for commercial value while others have been for security reasons while other remains exploratory.The vehicle launch has been seen as very lucrative and the need for a long term sustainable plan was developed that would incorporate market anticipation of potential launches, the history of the vehicle, the challenges involved such as technological, the economic concerns, the presence of national and international participation, and the major and unforeseen threats and dangers of launching the vehicles. Space policy has really revolutionized the launch vehicles into space where numerous vehicles have been launched such as the delta, titan, vanguard, falcon, Saturn, Pegasus, Taurus, and Angara among others.Many of the historical launch shuttles have become rephrased by new technology that ensures they are effective and efficient than older generation. The launch vehicles also make the exploration cheaper and more comprehensive in that they cover all aspects in life for instance social, economic and environmental. The presence of better and effective launch vehicles has been seen as a stepping stone to discover new resources to supplement the earth that is almost over exploited.