Uniqueness - The US faces space challenges – public support, money, labor.
David Heyman, 2005, Senior Fellow and Director of the CSIS Homeland Security Program, et al, “The Still Untrodden Heights: Global Imperatives for Space Exploration in the 21st Century,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, http://csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/suth.pdf
Challenges: The United States finds itself in an enviable position in the world of human space exploration today, in possession of the political will and many of the capabilities to carry out a new generation of human space activities. However, the Columbia accident in 2003 has paralyzed NASA’s human space activities for the last two years, and cost the agency billions to remedy the problems with its aging space transportation system.The country’s long-term financial imbalances are a threat to government funding of space activity, and a new Presidential administration in 2008 or 2012 could decide to scuttle the new initiative entirely. Public support for human space exploration also rests upon a thin layer of support; initial public support of Bush’s announcement last year was tepid, and space exploration is seen by many to be a “luxury item” in comparison with priorities such as education and medical research. Finally, the country’s aerospace workforce is aging and not being replaced at a sustainable rate.New hurdles and restrictions on foreign student visas could further dilute the labor force in coming years.
Now is Key Timeframe – Space Policy is At a Critical Juncture – Failure to Act Ensures Weakness
Valerie Neal, writer for the Economic Times, “End of space shuttle, end to US dominance of space? 7-6-2011
WASHINGTON: The flight into space by NASA's space shuttle Atlantis on this Friday will mark end of the shuttle era, but many believe it may also mean the end of US hegemony in the space. Although NASA has led numbers of manned flights into space for three decades, no additional such flights are planned for the moment. Top officials at the space agency, however, maintain this isn't the end of this country's manned effort in space, rather just the beginning of a new chapter. "I don't think this means the end of US crewed flights, but we're in a period of uncertainty and we don't know for how long," Valerie Neal, the official in charge of the shuttle area at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, said. "I think that what's a little disappointing is that we really don't have a clear vision of what it is that's going to come after," Neal said. "There's uncertainty in NASA and among the general public." After this NASA shuttle flight, private companies will be in charge of developing the technology for future space vehicles. This will enable the US space agency to focus on other projects, like working out the logistics of a manned Mars mission or travelling to an asteroid, two of the goals President Barack Obama set out in his new space strategy, says NASA director Charles Bolden. Although, the companies with which NASA has signed agreements to develop new spacecraft "are making some optimistic predictions" about when the new space vehicles will be ready, Neal said, "the truth is that they have still not been prepared". As a nation, we are in "the final part of the second great era of space exploration," similar to what we went through in the 1970s after the last Apollo mission, the programme that succeeded in putting men on the moon, he added.NASA took almost a decade to develop and launch the shuttle programme, and it was not until April 12, 1981 - 20 years after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space - that Columbia was sent into orbit, followed by Challenger (1983), Discovery (1984), Atlantis (1985) and Endeavour (1992).Neal, whose museum will receive the Discovery to exhibit to the public in April 2012, said that the shuttles had been great spacecraft.
China’s space power has left tensions high-conflict is on the brink now
William C. Martel and Toshi Yoshihara Autumn 2003, William C. Martel is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Toshi Yoshihara holds the John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies and is an affiliate member of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College., “Averting a Sino-U.S Space Race”, http://www.twq.com/03autumn/docs/03autumn_martel.pdf
When China successfully launched its fourthand final test flight of an unmanned spacecraft on December 30, 2002, the c ount r y ’ s l e ade r s hailed this accomplishment as a major technological triumph. Senior officials of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) predicted that the manned s p a c e p r o g r am would l aunch China’ s first astronaut (yuhangyuan) in l a t e 2003. The Chinese media predictably brimmed with national pride, while some international media questioned whether such a prestige project was a waste of resources. More generally, international attention to China’s space program has been sporadic and patronizing at best, either denigrating it or treating it nonchalantly, predominantly because it has come so late. This prevailing indifference, however, risks overlooking the longer-term consequences of China’s growing space power and, more dangerously, the potential collision of U.S. and Chinese interests in space.From China’s perspective, the United States’ self-appointed guardianship of space is presumptuous and represents a genuine challenge to China’s national security concerns. For the United States, China’s extension into space symbolizes its ambitions to challenge U.S. national security. Deeply seated, mutual suspicions are evident in both countries’ strategic assessments as the contours of potential strategic competition between Washington and Beijing emerge. In essence, both sides agree that the other represents a challenge. Although this potential clash of interests is not yet sufficiently severe to be visible to c a sua l o b s e r v e r s , the United States and China are on the threshold of a space race that could radically influence international security.