This year, the Eisenhower Institute’s 2013-2014 Undergraduate Fellows and the Harold G. Evans Chair of Eisenhower Leadership Studies, Shirley Anne Warshaw, Ph.D., have been studying the past, present and future of space policy in the United States.
Programs on U.S. space policy included all-campus panel discussions on different aspects of U.S. space policy featuring experts from both the public and private sector. The programs, which included in-depth sessions on the militarization of space, the internationalization of space, the privatization of space, and the exploration of space, were created, developed, and managed by the EI Undergraduate Fellows. In order to build campus excitement for the programs, the Fellows placed several life-sized cardboard astronauts across campus. Pictures of the space shuttle, the International Space Station, and the Mars rover rotated across televisions in public spaces as part of the Fellows continuing efforts to engage the campus in the evolving U.S. space programs.
In addition to developing the programs on space policy, Professor Warshaw has taken the Fellows to space sites around the country, including NASA’s headquarters in Washington, DC; NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia; and most recently, to NASA’s launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) space probe in Cape Canaveral, Florida (pictured, left).
In October, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden delivered an all-campus lecture at Gettysburg on the current activities of NASA, including the science projects undertaken on the International Space Station, the end of the space shuttle program to service the International Space Station, the move toward using commercial enterprise to service the International Space Station, and the exploration goals of the Mars rover and Mars atmospheric satellite.
We recently had a chance to ask Professor Warshaw a few questions about this year’s space-themed program and also received a sneak-peak of the coming spring semester, when the Fellows will resume their study of U.S. space policy.
How did you identify the four core subtopics of this year’s space policy program: exploration of space, militarization of space, privatization of space, and the internationalization of space?
Each of the four subtopics evolved as the space program itself evolved. While the program was conceived as purely one focused on the science of the exploration of space, issues relating to the militarization of space soon followed. In recent years, NASA has built strong international relationships, including those related to building the International Space Station. Finally, the issue of the privatization of space involves the growing number of private companies that own satellites, launch satellites, and work with NASA to service the International Space Station.
What were some of the highlights of this fall’s programming? How did the Fellows’ recent trip to Florida to view the MAVEN launch to Mars come about?
Every single program that we held on campus was exceptional. I have to be honest, though, that our trip to see the MAVEN launch at Cape Canaveral was our favorite event of the fall. General Charles Bolden (he was in the Marines as a test pilot before becoming an astronaut), the NASA Administrator, was incredible to us. He personally invited us to attend the MAVEN launch at Cape Canaveral after visiting us in Gettysburg, and he met with us privately shortly before we all watched the MAVEN launch.
The Fellows will be continuing their study of U.S. space policy in the spring. Are you able to give us a preview of what the Fellows will be doing next semester?
Next semester the Fellows will be doing some traveling, we hope, to other NASA sites and perhaps to sites of several of the private space companies. In addition, we will continue to host a number of programs on U.S. Space Policy, working with some of the many guests that we had this semester. One of our goals is also to travel to Montreal to meet with the staff of the Canadian Space Agency. They were responsible for building the “Canada Arm” on the International Space Station – some of you may have seen it in the movie Gravity.
This has been an incredible year for us and we look forward to continuing it in the spring semester.
About President Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Institute, and Space
President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958, and since its founding in 1983, the Eisenhower Institute has carried out research and programming related to U.S. space policy. In 2008, the Eisenhower Institute published “A Framework for Space Security: An Alternative to Weaponizing Space,” as part of its five-year-long Future of Space program, which investigated the state of space security and the risks of its weaponization. In 2004, the Institute published its volume Space Security 2003, which accessed the status of space security in that year.
About the EI Undergraduate Fellows Program
The Eisenhower Institute Undergraduate Fellows Program offers a select group of Gettysburg College students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and grow in their knowledge and understanding of public policy topics. Fellows serve on the Eisenhower Institute's College Advisory Council, act as liaisons for assigned Institute events, and serve as hosts for campus visitors. Fellows engage fully in the planning and promotion of specific programs and projects in both Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg.