Space Innovation Goes Global

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This month, four teams will arrive at the the Paris Air Show to compete in the international finals of the youth Rocketry Challenge. These young people hold the national titles for the United Kingdom, United States, France and Japan. Now, they’ll test their skills on a global stage.

Nothing could prepare them better for careers in the next space age, which demands a truly global perspective. When the first space age dawned, just a handful of nations were building rockets and spacecraft. Today, more than 60 nations own and operate space assets, with more countries venturing into space each year.

Why are so many nations investing in space—and collaborating on their missions? Because space has become a critical infrastructure that enables scientific discovery, enhances global security and fuels modern economies. By working together, nations can share costs and combine their unique capabilities to accomplish more.

Advancing the Journey to Mars

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NASA’s Orion program is one example. Through Orion, humans will travel to the moon, nearby asteroids and, eventually, Mars. Those astronauts will be transported safely into deep space aboard the Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the Orion spacecraft, which an international industry and government team is building for NASA.  The European Space Agency, for example, is producing the Orion service module.

The Orion capsule successfully completed its first test flight on Dec. 5, 2014, when it flew 3,600 miles above the Earth’s surface, orbited the planet twice, traveled through the atmosphere and landed safely in the Pacific Ocean. The next test flight will be Exploration Mission-1 in 2018.

Connecting Allies through Protected Communications

Protected Communications

Four nations—the Netherlands, Canada, United Kingdom and United States—are also partnering to provide ultra-protected satellite communications to strategic commanders and tactical troops in the field. Called the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system, the advanced technology allows allies to share vital information faster and safer than ever before. The AEHF system delivers high-bandwidth satellite communications and has anti-jamming capabilities, which enable coalition commanders to transmit information to their own troops and to allied users across the globe.

Creating a Safer, More Prosperous World

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Communications satellites also connect people worldwide by enabling smart phones, satellite television, social media and more. These applications bring friends and families together across regions—and fuel global commerce to create greater prosperity.

And when severe weather threatens, remote-sensing satellites, such as NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-Series (GOES-R), provide early warnings to support timely evacuations and response. The information gathered by remote-sensing satellites also furthers scientific understanding of global climate challenges.

These are just a few examples of how space is benefitting people worldwide. Through international partnerships and global services, space-based capabilities are now available to people everywhere. Yet, we have only begun to envision what space can help people on Earth to achieve. Welcome to the next space age!