How Congress and the White House deal with potential budget cuts
could be the biggest space-related issue for 2013. (credit: J. Foust)

Key space issues for 2013

by Jeff Foust
Monday, December 31, 2012

The end of the year is a natural time to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and failures. And, in 2012, there’s a lot to reflect upon, from the successful landing of the Mars rover Curiosity to the beginning of commercial cargo flights to the International Space Station. There was also plenty of drama about the future of NASA’s Mars exploration program and its planetary science program in general (as yet unresolved, along with the rest of the NASA budget); steady, if slow, progress on both large government space projects and smaller commercial suborbital efforts; and the unveiling of some audacious, long-term private space efforts that generated both excitement and skepticism.

It is, though, more useful to look ahead: what can we expect for the coming year in space? Several key issues are immediately apparent, from ongoing debates about federal spending, including the looming specter of across-the-board budget cuts, to upcoming milestones for suborbital and orbital commercial vehicles. The success—or failure—of these efforts could have significant implications for both public and private sector space efforts in the years to come.

Read more: The Space Review: Key space issues for 2013.

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