US committed to international space cooperation: Obama

The US vowed Monday to cooperate with its international partners in space.

Washington: The US vowed Monday to cooperate with its international partners in space as the Obama administration unveiled the details of its space policy.

"Our policy reflects the ways in which our imperatives and our obligations in space have changed in recent decades," President Barack Obama said in a statement.

"No longer are we racing against an adversary; in fact, one of our central goals is to promote peaceful cooperation and collaboration in space, which not only will ward off conflict but will help to expand our capacity to operate in orbit and beyond."

Much of the national space policy outlines the Obama administration`s vision for space, which focuses on his plans to promote commercial spaceflight and a long-term effort to send astronauts to Mars.

Obama has been criticised for a policy announced earlier this year to scrap Bush-era plans for a new spacecraft designed to take astronauts back to the moon. Instead, he said he would allow commercial providers to shuttle astronauts to nearby destinations and push NASA to head to Mars.

The space policy released Monday lays out those goals, stresses the need to address a proliferation of potentially dangerous orbiting space junk, ensure access to space and keep space open to all nations.

"All nations have the right to use and explore space, but with this right also comes responsibility," the plan says. "The United States, therefore, calls on all nations to work together to adopt approaches for responsible activity in space to preserve this right for the benefit of future generations."

The policy reaffirms the use of space for peaceful purposes, but maintains it can also be used for national security activities. It upholds the rights of countries to operate without interference in space and to take action should they come under attack.

NASA welcomed the document.

"We are committed to working with other agencies, industry, and international partners to achieve national goals in exploration - human and robotic - and technology development," administrator Charlie Bolden said, "that will ensure a robust future for the US and our friends around the world."


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