Aerospace Center Hosts Programs on Space Exploration and Policy

Posted: November 17, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jocelyn Rappaport

Ken Button
Kenneth Button
Photo by Evan Cantwell

The Center for Aerospace Policy Research in the School of Public Policy is busy conducting workshops, conferences, seminars and short courses. Many of the programs examine data about space exploration, recommend policies to further space research and promote a better understanding of possibilities for the private and public sectors.

“We are at something of a watershed as far as space exploration and commercial development are concerned,” says Kenneth Button, center director. “It is essential that the issues are fully understood and debated if we are to move forward in a productive way. This is an important issue of public policy, and it is appropriate that George Mason be involved.”

For example, in September, the center teamed up with the nonprofit Center for Strategic and International Studies and the American Astronautical Society to host a two-day international conference at the Arlington Campus. The conference examined ways the “space community” can learn from other sectors in areas such as public-private partnerships and international cooperation.

In addition, the center released an important in-depth workshop report, “Building and Maintaining the Constituency for Long-Term Space Exploration,” on Oct. 9. The report notes that participants at the NASA, Northrop Grumman and Boeing-supported workshop “reviewed market research data on the various dimensions of public support for space exploration and looked at ways to sustain and enhance it.”

The discussions indicated that the older “Apollo” generation is much more supportive than the younger generation. “Analysis such as this is critical for garnering and increasing support for long-term exploration from the younger population,” the report notes.

Earlier this month, the center sponsored a seminar with the American Astronautical Society and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Arlington Campus. The program highlighted global space exploration objectives, plans and industrial capabilities, and the initial development of a single integrated database of space exploration activities worldwide.

For more information about the center’s activities, see the web site.

Write to at