Human Space Exploration

Looking Back 50 Years, Getting Ready for the Next 50

On June 3, 1965, Air Force Maj. Ed White became the first American to walk in space when he stepped out of his Gemini IV spacecraft. Fifty years later, America’s human spaceflight program sits on a fulcrum. The space shuttle has been retired, and the International Space Station, or ISS, has been occupied for almost 15 years. The United States and its international partners are developing capabilities that could take humans to Mars in the 2030s, while private companies are working on spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS by 2017.

American leadership in human spaceflight is vital but not assured. The technical challenges involved in getting astronauts to Mars are daunting, and the long-term physical and psychological effects of such a journey remain uncertain. But the prospects for American-led human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit are brighter than they have been for decades. The U.S. government and private companies are slowly but surely putting into place many of the capabilities needed to send humans to Mars; however, the critical questions are yet to be framed.

Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion on the future of the U.S. human spaceflight program—where we’ll go, how we’ll get there, and who will come with us.

Welcoming remarks:
Rudy deLeon, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Keynote:
Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force

Participants:
Wes Bush, Chairman, CEO, and President, Northrop Grumman
Dr. Maria Zuber, Vice President for Research, MIT

Moderators:
Peter Juul, Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress
Rudy deLeon, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Location

Center for American Progress, 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC , 20005

Additional information

A light breakfast will be provided at 9:30 a.m.

Accessibility:

Closed-captioned-enabled video will be posted following the conclusion of the event.
If you require ADA-related accommodations for your in-person attendance at this event, please email events@americanprogress.org as soon as possible so that we may assist you.