(a) Long-term goals

The long-term goals of the human space flight and exploration efforts of NASA shall be–

Terms Used In 42 USC 18312

  • Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.

(1) to expand permanent human presence beyond low-Earth orbit and to do so, where practical, in a manner involving international, academic, and industry partners;

(2) crewed missions and progress toward achieving the goal in paragraph (1) to enable the potential for subsequent human exploration and the extension of human presence throughout the solar system; and

(3) to enable a capability to extend human presence, including potential human habitation on another celestial body and a thriving space economy in the 21st Century.1

(b) Key objectives

The key objectives of the United States for human expansion into space shall be–

(1) to sustain the capability for long-duration presence in low-Earth orbit, initially through continuation of the ISS and full utilization of the United States segment of the ISS as a National Laboratory, and through assisting and enabling an expanded commercial presence in, and access to, low-Earth orbit, as elements of a low-Earth orbit infrastructure;

(2) to determine if humans can live in an extended manner in space with decreasing reliance on Earth, starting with utilization of low-Earth orbit infrastructure, to identify potential roles that space resources such as energy and materials may play, to meet national and global needs and challenges, such as potential cataclysmic threats, and to explore the viability of and lay the foundation for sustainable economic activities in space;

(3) to maximize the role that human exploration of space can play in advancing overall knowledge of the universe, supporting United States national and economic security and the United States global competitive posture, and inspiring young people in their educational pursuits;

(4) to build upon the cooperative and mutually beneficial framework established by the ISS partnership agreements and experience in developing and undertaking programs and meeting objectives designed to realize the goal of human space flight set forth in subsection (a); and

(5) to achieve human exploration of Mars and beyond through the prioritization of those technologies and capabilities best suited for such a mission in accordance with the stepping stone approach to exploration under section 70504 of title 51.