By Airman 1st Class Samuel Contreras, Air University Public Affairs
/ Published February 22, 2018
From left to right, U.S. Army Maj. Nicholas Holtz, SpaceX, U.S. Air Force Col. Jack Fischer NASA Astronaut, Leslie J. Kovacs, United Launch Alliance Washington Operations Director, and Dr. Michael "Coyote" Smith, Air Command and Staff College, speak to members of the Squadron Officer College during the Space Symposium on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, Feb. 16, 2018. The topic of discussion for the symposium was based around the famous quote, “One small step for man and one giant leap for mankind,” with a focus on a non-stop progression of space exploration. (U.S. Air Force photo by William Birchfield/Released)
Speakers from NASA, Space X, United Launch Alliance and Air University lined up to discuss the future of space at the Space Symposium here, Feb. 16.
The topic of discussion for the symposium was based around the famous quote, “One small step for man and one giant leap for mankind,” with a focus on a non-stop progression of space exploration.
“There’s a lot of questions as to how we manage it all politically with agreements as well as technologically,” said Col. Jack Fischer, NASA astronaut. “There’s questions about the weaponization of the space domain and how we are going to control that. [The Space Symposium] is really to address the future of space and how the Air Force is going to react to that and go forward.”
The purpose of the symposium was to discuss concerns on how the Air Force will manage the space domain in the future. The panel also addressed the commercialization aspect the space domain holds for the future.
The commercial aspect included the integration of private companies which have invested in an effort to promote space tourism, provide cheaper and more efficient space lift and even the exploration and exploitation of the moon and Mars.
“The area between the earth and the moon, lunar space, is rich with asteroids that have precious metals and all sorts of materials that commercial companies want to recover,” said Les Kovacs, director of executive branch affairs for ULA. “There are hundreds of companies that want to put habitats out there, they want to mine asteroids, go to the surface of the moon, extract water from the lunar regolith [soil] and there is no turning back. It [commercialization] is already happening.”
The Space Symposium was a way for the experts to come to the conclusion of understanding, regulating and having a path towards the future of space.